In the 6th edition of Pistons alumni update, we re-connect with goaltender Zach Rakochy, who over his Pistons career, became a fan favorite as a result of his on-ice performances between the pipes and his off-ice volunteering in the Steinbach community. From 2011-14, Rakochy was a mainstay in the Pistons net, playing more minutes than any other goaltender in team history.
After two solid years with the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), the Pistons acquired the then 18-year-old Rakochy, in a package deal that also saw 20-year-old forward Mark Owen come to Steinbach in exchange for Russell Trudeau, an 18 year old forward.
It didn’t take long for Pistons fans to see the true hockey ability the Canora, Saskatchewan native had, as he had an immediate impact on the team. Despite a difficult 2011-12 season, Rakochy was one of the few bright spots for the Pistons, as he was always consistent between the pipes, and kept the team competitive in some very tough games.
In the time that it took Pistons fans to realize how special Rakochy’s hockey ability was on the ice, the Steinbach Community realized how special he was off of it. From the moment he began playing for the Pistons, Rakochy volunteered his time around the Steinbach Community.
Rakochy attended schools around the Steinbach area and helped out in classes of all grades, focusing on academic events such as I love to read month. He also attended many different squirts, atom and novice hockey practices, spending one-on-one time with each team’s goaltenders.
In addition to volunteering his time, Rakochy and fellow Pistons teammate Kyle Rous raised more than $2000 for Prostate Cancer Awareness and the Canadian Mental Health Association in a fundraising event that occurred at the T.G. Smith Centre in November of 2012.
Rakochy always looked to get involved with the Steinbach community throughout his Pistons career, and his volunteering generosity can still be felt in Steinbach today as many people still remember the impact he had in the community.
The 5’11” 170 lbs netminder continued his excellent play into the 2012-13 season where he helped the Pistons reach the MJHL playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The Pistons would go on to win the 2013 MJHL Championship. Despite backing up Corey Koop during the playoff run, Rakochy was an influential figure in the dressing room as his team first attitude and supportive nature helped many fellow teammates deal with the adversities that are faced during playoff hockey.
Rakochy would go on to lead the Pistons to a very successful 2013-14 campaign that saw the Pistons post a 42-win season. The highlight of the season however was when he scored a goal on September 29th, 2013 against the Virden Oil Capitals. Rakochy is the only goalie in Pistons history to have scored a goal.
Rakochy ended his Pistons career with 106 games played which ranks him second all-time in a Pistons uniform. He played the most minutes out of any other Pistons goaltender with 5884 minutes, and finished second all time in shots with 3471. He recorded 46 wins, a 3.49 goals against average and a .901 save percentage. In 11 playoff games with the Pistons, Rakochy recorded 5 wins, a 2.43 goals against average and a .926 save percentage.
Rakochy was awarded many team and league honors during his Pistons career. He was named team MVP, and was awarded the Golden West Fan Favorite and 3 Stars awards during the 2011-12 season. As a result of his excellent play on the ice and his volunteerism off of it, Rakochy was awarded the MJHL Peak Performer award for the months of December 2012 and March 2014. He was also rewarded the Pistons Community Service and Leadership award for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. The MJHL rewarded Rakochy with the Goalie of the Month award for January 2014 while he was chosen as an MJHL second team all star for the 2013-14 season.
The following is Zach Rakochy’s Q and A
If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be: Moose Steaks
A TV show I can’t miss is: Game of Thrones
I’m embarrassed ______ is on my playlist: Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to: La Broquerie, Manitoba
My number one pet peeve is: People that don’t say “Please and Thank you”
My favorite sports athlete is: Jonah “The Waz” Wasylak
In my spare time, I like to: Hunt, Work out, Get rejected by girls
Toughest MJHL opponent and or team you played against: Portage Terriers
Favorite MJHL rink other than the T.G. Smith Centre: The Winkler Thunder-Dome (Winkler Arena)
STP: What are you doing in life these days?
Rakochy: Well I just graduated U of M with a Diploma in AgBusiness and I’m currently farming full time, trying to live life to the fullest.
STP: What are your plans for the future?
Rakochy: In the next couple years I would like to finalize the transition of the farm to myself. I’m also starting my own goaltending consulting business while becoming a certified personal trainer and training people in the less busy winter months. Oh, and travel the world....... and maybe find a wife, that last one is a stretch though.
STP: Do you still follow the team during the season?
STP: Do you still connect with any of your former Pistons teammates?
Rakochy: Absolutely! While going to U of M and living in Winnipeg, I would run into a tone of Pistons.
STP: Who was your favorite Pistons player, and why?
Rakochy: That is an extremely tough question, but if I would have to choose one I would pick my old roommate Kyle Rous because he was a phenomenal leader and captain. He’s also just an excellent person who helped me out exponentially after the passing of my father.
STP: What are your most memorable on ice moments with the Pistons?
Rakochy: When we won the MJHL Championship, and just that whole play-off run. I will never forget the fans and how the T-G Smith would just erupt after goals, saves, big plays, and wins. Oh, and also when I scored against Virden that was neat too.
STP: What are your most memorable off-ice moments with the Pistons?
Rakochy: Oh I could rattle off numerous off-ice memories, but I would have to say going to all the elementary schools in the Steinbach and surrounding area and spending time with the kids. Just the thrill on their faces when we showed up and played floor hockey, or read with them made my life.
STP: What advice would you give future players wanting to play in Steinbach?
Rakochy: Two parts of advice, first off enjoy. every. second. of it! The Jr hockey life is a phenomenal experience but it does not last forever. Also you are always representing the Pistons even when you take that jersey off and are away from the rink.
STP: How did your time with the Pistons get you to where you are today?
Rakochy: I would have to say the Pistons helped me exponentially to get where I am today. Due to the fact that after my father passed away when I was 19 the whole entirety of the Piston organization reached out and supported me through the tough times. I know for a fact that with out the support of my teammates, the coaching staff and billet family I would not be where I am, or the person I am today.