In this edition of Pistons alumni update, we re-connect with local hockey superstar Daniel Taillefer. Taillefer played his entire junior career with the Pistons, establishing himself as one of the greatest players to have played in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
The Portage Terriers originally drafted the La Broquerie native in the 2010 MJHL draft with the 4th overall pick in the first round. Taillefer’s career with the Pistons began when he was acquired via trade with the Terriers. Due to team struggles during the 2010-11 season, the Pistons were looking to acquire young talented players. The highly touted Taillefer was an attractive player to the Pistons as he was from the Steinbach area and possessed a great deal of offensive talent.
Taillefer began playing for the Pistons in his 16-year-old year. Despite playing on a team that struggled to dress a full roster, Taillefer finished the year with a strong rookie campaign and was awarded the teams Rookie of the Year alongside fellow teammate Denis Bosc.
In his sophomore year, Taillefer would continue to grow and mature as a player. With his tremendous hockey sense and natural skill with the puck, Taillefer was a driving force behind a successful 2012-13 Pistons team that ended up making its first ever MJHL playoff appearance.
Despite only being 17 years old, Taillefer played with a veteran presence during the 2013 MJHL playoffs. Taillefer was an offensive nightmare for the opposing teams as he had the vision and hockey IQ to make very difficult hockey plays. His clinical offensive ability during the playoffs went on to help the Pistons capture their first Turnbull Cup and MJHL Championship.
In the following three years, Taillefer would continue to play at an elite level while missing very few games. His durability and consistency as a player made him a fan favorite, as his offensive talents made him exciting to watch every time he stepped onto the ice. Taillefer would go on to guide the Pistons to very successful seasons and playoff appearances while completing very successful individual campaigns.
Taillefer ended his junior career as the Pistons top player in all major statistical categories. Taillefer ended his career with 298 games played, a Pistons record and second all time in the MJHL. He finished with 90 goals, 187 assists and 277 points, all records for a Pistons player. His 187 assists and 277 points are both ranked in the MJHL top 10 all time regular season stats. In 56 career playoff games, Taillefer finished with 13 goals and 25 assists. His 38-playoff points are the most of any Pistons player.
Taillefer was awarded many league accomplishments during his career, including the Hockey Ability and Sportsmanship Award for 2015-16, an IBAM-MJHL Educational Scholarship for 2015-16, a Second All-Star Team selection for the 2015-16 season, as well as an MJHL Championship in 2012-13.
The following is Daniel Taillefer’s Q and A
STP: What are you doing in life these days?
Taillefer: I am currently working carpentry for my uncle during the summer months. Once September comes around I will be going to the University of Manitoba looking to pursue business.
STP: What are your plans for the future?
Taillefer: My future plans are to continue working in carpentry and to pursue business at the University of Manitoba. I am also planning on exploring different possibilities in being involved in hockey, however I am not exactly sure when or what that would look like.
STP: Do you still follow the team during the season?
Taillefer: Yes, I follow the team throughout the year. I am lucky enough to live pretty close to Steinbach, therefore I am able to attend some games. I usually try and go see the guys after the game in the room. I also enjoy seeing Paul, everyone involved with the team and all the fans when I attend games.
STP: Do you still connect with any of your former pistons teammates?
Taillefer: Yes I keep in touch with many guys. I play against a few guys, see some at school and during the summer we try and get together. We might not see each other as often as when we played together but when you meet up with them it is always fun and it’s like nothing has changed.
STP: Who was your favourite Pistons player and why?
Taillefer: I wouldn’t say I have a favourite player, however I will name a few guys that come to mind for different reasons. It was pretty special to be able to play with the Baudry’s (Colin and Jus) as we are all from LaBroquerie and were great friends before junior hockey. Two other guys that come to mind are Tyler Penner and Justin Augert because I played 2 years as their line mates and we became good friends. Lastly, Kyle Rous is a guy I will always remember as I have great respect for him as he stayed with Steinbach throughout a couple of tough years. It was special to be able to win a championship with him.
STP: What are your most memorable on ice moments with the Pistons?
Taillefer: Winning game 6 for the MJHL championship in Steinbach was incredible. To be able to celebrate on home ice in front of family, friends and the fans will be something I’ll never forget.
STP: What are your most memorable off-ice moments with the Pistons?
Taillefer: There are countless great memories off the ice with the guys. I enjoyed spending time at the billets with all the guys, whether we were watching TV, playing ping pong or just hanging out. One of my favourite memories was travelling to Nanaimo, BC after winning the MJHL championship. Playing and visiting in Nanaimo was a great experience.
STP: What advice would you give to future players wanting to play in Steinbach?
Taillefer: I would say to enjoy it and to take advantage of the opportunities that Steinbach gives their players. Steinbach treats their players extremely well and players must be ready to work hard on and off the ice.
STP: How did your time with the Pistons get you to where you are today?
Taillefer: I am very thankful for what the pistons have done for me. It has helped me become the person I am today by teaching me teamwork, work ethic and especially respect.