The Steinbach Pistons will be well represented at the annual CJHL Prospects game in Missisauga, Ontario this year.
Forward Riese Gaber and goalie Matthew Thiessen were named to Team West for the upcoming game on January 23rd. They are the only representatives from the Manitoba Junior Hockey that were named to the roster. Gaber and Thiessen also have become the third and fourth members of the Pistons to play at the game, joining Denis Bosc (2012) and Justin Baudry (2013).
The CJHL Prospects Game began in 2005 when the CJHL teamed up with Hockey Canada and the NHL to allow the top players from the junior A level to get exposure to hockey scouts from the NHL, NCAA, Major Junior, and Canadian universities and colleges.
The rosters are chosen and identified with the help of NHL Central Scouting and the CJHL. For Thiessen, he is looking to soak the experience in. “I am looking forward to meeting the guys there and to compete and see how skilled the players are from across Canada,” he says.
This is Thiessen’s rookie season with the Pistons, and he says that he was a little nervous to make the transition. “I was mostly more excited to have a new challenge,” Thiessen explained. “My goal was to be one of the best goalies in the league and be on the all-rookie team. Once I found out about this game and the MJHL/SJHL Showcase, these also became my goals to play in these games.”
Gaber has not yet suited up for the Pistons, as he just recently won a gold medal competing with Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. He has 15 goals and 6 assists playing for the Dauphin Kings this season before being acquired by Steinbach this December. He has committed to playing for the Western Michigan University Broncos of NCAA Division I hockey.
In 19 starts in net, Thiessen is a stellar 16-2-0 with an 2.01 GAA, which leads all MJHL goaltenders. The Altona product also has posted a .926 save percentage which is 2nd in the league, and has recorded 2 shutouts. Thiessen has committed to playing for the University of Maine Black Bears of NCAA Division I hockey.