In this edition of Pistons alumni update, we re-connect with one of the hardest working, character players to don a Pistons jersey, forward Cam Hildebrand (shown above with Kailey, who is a Raiders Jr. Hockey fan and a new resident to the Eastman area). Hildebrand played for the Pistons from 2009-11, and served as Pistons Captain in the 2010-11 season.
The Winnipeg native began his junior career with the Beausejour Blades when they called him up for one game during the 2008-09 season. It wouldn’t be until the following season with the newly relocated Steinbach Pistons however, that Hildebrand would show his true potential in junior hockey.
Many first year players face difficulties transitioning to the junior level. Playing a very demanding schedule against older, bigger and stronger men can lead to struggles for any newcomer to the league.
Hildebrand, who stands 5’7” and weighs 165lbs, was an exception. Despite his stature, Hildebrand played with a resilient work ethic and edge to his game, transitioning smoothly into junior hockey and cementing his spot on the inaugural Pistons roster.
He would go on to have a very successful rookie season with the Pistons. Through his hard work and determination both on and off the ice, Hildebrand became a leader in the Pistons dressing room and garnered a lot of respect for his team first mentality.
As a result, he was awarded the team captaincy for the 2010-11 season. Hildebrand’s leadership, work ethic and skill level made him a coach’s dream, as he was heavily relied upon for his consistent play.
Hildebrand, along with Pistons alumni Mitch Chagnon and Tanner Harms, formed a formidable force during the 2010-11 season. Their forward line became one of the most dangerous in the league, terrorizing defenders with relentless pressure and offensive skill.
Hildebrand played two seasons with the Pistons before deciding to focus on his educational studies. In those two years, Hildebrand played in 116 games, registering 28 goals and 45 assists for 73 points.
He continued to play hockey for the Raiders Jr. Hockey Club of the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League after his Pistons career. In 84 games with the Raiders, Hildebrand recorded 58 goals and 57 assists for 115 points.
Hildebrand was awarded the Steinbach Pistons Player of the Month award for February of 2011, and represented the Pistons at the MJHL Prospects Game in the 2009-10 season.
The following is Cam Hildebrand’s Q and A
If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be: Sushi
A TV show I can’t miss is: Big Brother
I’m embarrassed ______ is on my playlist: Meagan Tranior
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to: Bali, Indonesia
My number one pet peeve is: Leaking coffee lid
My favorite sports athlete is: Sidney Crosby
In my spare time, I like to: Golf, Rollerblade
Toughest MJHL opponent and or team you played against? Steph Pattyn (Portage Terriers)
Favorite MJHL rink other than the T.G. Smith Centre? Dauphin’s Credit Union Place
STP: What are you doing in life these days?
Hildebrand: I have pursued a career in Commercial Real Estate and have been actively in this profession for the past 4 years. I am currently a Development Manager for Terracon Developments Ltd. In addition, I coach the Raiders Jr Hockey Club in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League (2016-2017 Champions).
STP: What are your future plans?
Hildebrand: My future plans are to continue working in commercial real estate and coaching hockey. I also plan to purchase a new home with my girlfriend in the near future.
STP: Do you still follow the team during the season?
Hildebrand: Yes I do. Although I don’t get out to as many live games as I would like to, I still check the standings and box scores every night. The live game day video updates is a great way to watch the highlights.
STP: Do you still connect with any of your former Pistons teammates?
Hildebrand: Yes. I was fortunate to build many great friendships during my time in Steinbach. Tyler Lazuruk, Mitch Chagnon and a few Manitoba boys are who I’m currently still connected with. Social media has helped me stay associated with many of the other guys as well.
STP: Who was your favorite Pistons player and why?
Hildebrand: It is difficult to pinpoint one particular player, as there were a lot of guys who stand out in my mind for many different reasons. Tanner Harms and Mitch Chagnon were two of the best line-mates I’ve played with. We had a lot of fun together. But if I had to pick one player, it would have to be Kyle Rous. Rouser and I started to attend the Beausejour Blades camp at roughly the same time. He became a close friend and great teammate on and off the ice. He battled through the highs and lows and capped his career off by leading the team and winning a championship. It was a special moment to watch.
STP: What are your most memorable on-ice moments with the Pistons?
Hildebrand: My most memorable on ice moment was playing in the home opener at the T.G. Smith Centre. It was the first regular season game of franchise’s history. Although the nerves were at an all time high, it was exhilarating wearing the uniforms in front of the fans for the first time.
STP: What are your most memorable off-ice moments with the Pistons?
Hildebrand: There are far too many memorable off-ice moments to list them all. Spending countless hours in the dressing room before and after practices, playing ping-pong, road trips with the boys and community events are a few at the top of the list. Also, spending time with my billet family, Russ and Shannon Dyck.
STP: What advice would you give to future players wanting to play in Steinbach?
Hildebrand: The easiest advice I can give to a future Pistons is work hard (on and off the ice). Earn your opportunity to wear the uniform each and every day. The toughest advice I can give to a future Piston is don’t take anything for granted. It is a difficult concept to understand, especially when you are a teenager. Embrace your teammates, staff, fans and the community. The ownership and staff members do everything to position you for success. Give them 100%. Your junior hockey career truly flies by. Learn from the veteran players, grow into your own and lastly, teach the next generation the Piston ways.
STP: How did your time with the Pistons get you to where you are today?
Hildebrand: I’m not sure where I would be in life today if I was not a Steinbach Piston, and that is the honest truth. Moving to Steinbach and being apart of this organization gave me the exposure to many life skills and the confidence to handle myself in a professional manner. Surrounded by a great community and great people, I would like to acknowledge a few individuals who were key influences during my time with Steinbach. Thanks to Rich Gosselin for giving me the opportunity to become a Steinbach Piston, Grant and Val Lazuruk for their generosity and gracious hospitality, Paul Dyck for being my role model and lastly my billet family, Russ and Shannon Dyck who I truly can’t repay.