Steinbachpistons.ca is bringing you some alumni updates throughout the offseason to bring Pistons fans up to date on some of your favorite players to ever don the white and blue.
We caught up with one of the biggest, toughest, and most popular Pistons of all time, forward Jonah Wasylak. The Calgary native spent his entire three-year junior career with Steinbach, helping the Pistons win the 2012-13 MJHL Championship.
Wasylak joined the Pistons for his rookie season in 2012, and spent his time as a key depth player for Head Coach/GM Paul Dyck, winning the Pistons Most Improved Player award. He put up 11 goals and 20 points in the first season, added 3 goals and 3 assists in the playoffs as part of their MJHL Championship run, and helped Steinbach advance to the inaugural Western Canada Cup.
His second season in 2013-14 saw him notch 6 goals and 21 points over 58 games played, as he played on the famed ‘OWL’ line with linemates Suede Omeasoo and Connor Lockhart. But the playoffs saw Wasylak break out with 3 goals and 6 assists to lead Steinbach in postseason scoring, and was named the Pistons Playoff MVP alongside Omeasoo as a result.
In his final season in 2014-15, Wasylak suited up for the entire 60 game season, and put forward a career high 15 goals and 33 assists for 48 points. He also racked up a franchise record 191 penalty minutes in a season.
Wasylak helped Steinbach once again make it to the league final but fell short, as he put up another 3 goals and 3 assists in his final MJHL postseason.
After his Pistons career wrapped up, Wasylak moved onto the U Sports scene to play for the University of Manitoba in the summer of 2015. He has spent four seasons with the Bisons, registering 26 points in 76 career games at the U of M.
Wasylak was a fan favorite on the ice as well as off of it, regularly volunteering in schools around the Southeast and making an impact with students wherever he went.
The following is a Q and A with Jonah:
Steinbachpistons.ca: What are you doing in life these days?
Jonah Wasylak: I’ve continued my hockey career with the U of M Bisons, going into my fifth and final season with them this fall. I am in the Asper School of Business pursuing a double Major in Finance and Marketing.
I’ve also started working with the Bank of Montreal, dipping my toes into the corporate world to get a taste of what a career there might look like.
SP: Do you still follow the Pistons during the season?
JW: I still keep tabs on the Pistons, not as much as I’d like to but I try to make it to a couple games a season. I’ve made it a point to maintain contact with my billet family and although we get busy, we still make time for each other so that’s another connection that’s helped me stay close to the organization.
SP: Who were some of your favorite teammates in Steinbach?
JW: I was lucky to play with a great group of guys over my three seasons. All of them could get a nod, but some notables include Nick Kobelka, Dan Taillefer, Justin Augert, Zach Rakochy, Tyler Anton, David Robertson, Stephen Hak, Tyler Penner, the Baudry brothers, Denis Bosc, Hayden Goderis, and Connor Lockhart.
The list goes on but I think that really goes to show the kind of people the organization recruits year after year, which makes playing there so special.
SP: In your opinion, what was the toughest rink in the MJ to play in? (besides the TG Smith)
JW: Other than the TG Smith, I’d say that OCN was a tough barn to play in. Lots of energy, intimidating at times, but I fed off that as a player.
SP: What’s your most memorable on-ice moment with the Pistons?
JW:I think first and foremost, my favourite memory of playing there would be the historic run we went on in my rookie year, winning the championship and going to Nanaimo for Westerns. The support from the city was incredible, and it’s cool to look back on that as one of the pivotal moments in the organization’s history.
I think a close second would be some of the tilts I got in. Maybe one more than the rest, but those would be up there as well.
SP: What advice would you give to current Pistons, and future players wanting to play in Steinbach?
JW: To current and future playing that have the chance to play in Stein, go for it and do everything in your power to get yourself noticed. It’s not only quickly becoming one of the best places to play junior hockey in Western Canada, but also an avenue for players to move on to higher levels. That’s a reflection of the staff and the hard work they do, and guys that are willing to put in work will excel here.
I’ll also tell you to cherish it, because one day you’re a rookie and the next thing you know, you’re a vet playing his last game in blue and white reflecting on his career. There’s hockey after junior but it will never be quite the same as your junior days, so enjoy every day and have some fun with the boys along the way.
SP: How did your time with the Pistons organization get you to where you are today?
JW: Playing hockey in Stein helped to shape me as a man by giving me experiences that I’ve drawn on today. It also help pave the avenue that allowed me to continue playing hockey and to continue my education.
The organization was a valuable stepping stone and period of growth for me as a player and an individual, and that growth was extremely valuable. I learned many good lessons along the way which I’m thankful for.