Former Steinbach Pistons defenceman Justin Baudry will be playing professional hockey next season.
The first ever Pistons NCAA Division I commit has signed with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL) for the 2019-20 season. The Americans are the affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
“It has been a dream of mine to play professional hockey ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to start playing with them.”
The two-year Piston from 2012-14 recently signed a try-out deal with the AHL’s Ontario Reign, the affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, back in mid-March.
Baudry played in his first game for the Reign back on March 13th, a few days after his senior season at Bemidji State University ended with a playoff loss to Lake Superior State University. He notched his first point as a pro during that game, as he assisted on Ontario’s first goal of the game in an overtime loss to the Colorado Eagles.
“It was a crazy couple of weeks,“ the La Broquerie native said of a wild experience. “To have finished my four-year college career in Bemidji, and then hopped on a plane the next day to play my first pro game.
“It was definitely a roller coaster of emotions, but I’m grateful for every moment of it.”
Baudry came to the Pistons as a 16-year-old and made the team in 2012-13, and was a member of the MJHL Rookie All-Star team that season. He was the first Steinbach Piston ever to commit to a NCAA Division I school back in 2013, and has since been followed by twelve different Pistons players in that regard.
He spent four years with the Beavers after playing a season with the Fargo Force of the USHL, and was a senior captain this past year. He put up 8 points in 30 games during his freshman season, 10 points in 41 games in his sophomore year, 19 points in 37 games as a junior, and capped off his collegiate career by leading the Beavers in scoring and finishing second amongst defenceman in the WCHA conference with 31 points in 38 games.
During his Pistons career, he notched 62 points in 100 regular season games and chipped in nine points in 31 career postseason appearances. When asked about his favorite memory in Steinbach, “Definitely winning an MJHL Championship (in 2013),” he responded. “I also gained so many friendships that I will never lose.”
Although he is headed to the pro ranks, the 22-year-old defenceman hasn’t forgotten about playing for the Pistons back in his teen years. “The organization is the main reason I had a successful college career because it let me develop on and off the ice,” he said. “It’s a great program surrounded with great people, and I will forever be grateful to have played in Steinbach.
Baudry left a thank-you message for everyone in Steinbach. “I’d like to personally thank everyone in the organization, including the Board of Directors, (Head Coach/GM) Paul Dyck, (former assistant coach) Rob Smith, (video coach) Graham Pollock, all of the volunteers, and the best fans in the MJHL.”