Steinbachpistons.ca is once again bringing you some alumni updates throughout the offseason to get Steinbach fans caught up on what’s happening with some of your favourite Pistons of all time.
We recently caught up former Pistons captain Justin Augert. Augert signed with Steinbach in September of 2010 and played four seasons with the club from 2010-14.
Augert was a force up front for Steinbach over the course of his career, becoming known for his physical style of play with a knack for putting up points. He put up 6 goals and 9 assists in 55 games during his rookie season back in 2010-11. The next year, he notched 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points in seven fewer games played in what would be a rough year for the Pistons organization.
2012-13 is where it all changed for Augert and Steinbach. With a change of ownership and a team goal to make the playoffs that season, the Winnipeg native broke out in a big way to lead the Pistons to their first ever playoff appearance with 34 goals and 64 points during the regular season. He put up another 11 goals and 9 assists during the postseason as the Pistons won their first ever Turnbull Cup that spring.
Augert returned for his 20-year-old season in hopes of defending the league title and continued his production from the previous season with 28 goals and 60 points in 55 games in 2013-14 to once again lead the team in points. The Pistons improved from 66 points in the 2012-13 MJHL standings to 86 points in 2013-14, but they ultimately fell short in the MJHL Semifinals.
He eventually moved onto the U Sports level and committed to play with the University of Manitoba that summer. Over the next four seasons with the Bisons, Augert put up 50 points in 102 career university games and had two goals in five career postseason games as well. He recently returned to Steinbach on March 2nd for the first-ever Pistons Alumni Classic game.
Augert graduated from the Pistons as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer but has since been eclipsed. Currently he is third all-time in goals (80), sixth in assists (84), fourth in points (164), but still leads in both penalty minutes (525) and career playoff goals (15). He was also named to the MJHL 2nd All-Star Team and won the Pistons Golden West Fan Favorite Award in 2013-14.
Below is a Q and A with Justin:
Steinbachpistons.ca: What are you doing in life these days?
Justin Augert: I currently work at True North Sports and Entertainment in Sales. I am still involved in hockey, working with Evolution hockey doing skills training with various age groups. I also coached a pee wee team over the hockey season. I managed to play a little senior hockey over the winter for the Altona Maroons (SEMHL), but now I’m looking forward to golfing and fishing as the weather warms up!
SP: Do you still follow the team during the season?
JA: Yes of course! One thing I’ve learned after being several years removed from playing for the Pistons is that you always feel like you’re part of the team. Personally, going through years of struggle with the team to winning a championship in 2013 is something I’m very proud of, and seeing the success the organization has on a year-to-year basis is extremely rewarding. I still keep in touch with my billets and I try to make it out once a year to watch a game, and every time it’s amazing to see the growth in the entire organization.
SP: Toughest rink in the MJHL to play in (other than TG Smith Centre) would be?
JA: That’s a tough one. My first two seasons it was definitely OCN; it was a different animal up there and was a hostile environment. Beyond that, I would have to say Dauphin (Credit Union Place). Reason being is that during the championship series (in 2013) I made a comment in a post game interview about the lack of fan noise in their building when asked about the fan-made noise in our rink (TG Smith). Needless to say, many of the Kings fans caught wind of this and let me have it from there on out. All in good fun however and I loved it!
SP: Who were some of your favourite teammates?
JA: I could be here for a while if I had to name all of them. Truly friendships that will last a lifetime with a lot of the guys I had the pleasure to play with in Steinbach. Nick Kobelka was my roommate for a few seasons along with Hayden Goderis and Connor Lockhart. The interesting thing is that I still keep in touch with teammates from my first season like Mitch Chagnon and Cam Hildebrand, who were years older than me; and people like Dan Taillefer, Colin Baudry, and others who were younger than me.
It’s a real testament to the culture and how valuable hockey can be for friendships and relationships. Beyond that, I keep in touch with many if not all who were a part of the 2013 championship team, and our great team we had in my final season.
SP: Most Memorable On-ice moment with the Pistons is?
JA: The obvious one is winning the MJHL Championship in 2013. It is tough to put into words the hard work that was put into this. Only a year prior we barely had enough players to stay afloat, and as many players would admit, were structurally incompetent. With new ownership, and with a great coach and staff, we were able to turn things around in the most improbable way. Being part of the solution is something I’m very proud of, and looking back I am so grateful I had the opportunity to go through something like that.
SP: What advice would you give to current Pistons players and future players wanting to play in Steinbach?
JA: (To current players) – My advice is simple – cherish it. Don’t take any day for granted as it is truly the best time of your life. Also to have an open mind. You won’t know until you leave, but the life lessons I learned in Steinbach have truly carried me through my university career, and now in my working career. I owe a lot of who I am to the organization and my four years there, and I’m sure many others feel the same when they leave.
(To future players) – My advice would be to go for it 100%. You won’t find a better spot for your hockey development and personal development. The organization as a whole will give you every opportunity to be successful not only in hockey but as a person. Also – to know that it is a privilege to play for the Pistons, so approach every day with integrity if you want to get the most out of your experience.
SP: How did your time with the Pistons get you to where you are today?
JA: As a hockey player, I owe the Steinbach Pistons almost every little bit of success I had. More specifically, I owe a lot to Paul as he pushed and believed in me to be the player I was. It ultimately ended up in me getting an athletic scholarship which I never thought was possible as a 16-year-old kid.
Now that I have moved on from playing, I still carry the life lessons playing hockey in Steinbach taught me, and I am forever grateful for that. I am excited for where my career will take me, and I assure you that no matter where the road takes me, that I will always take my experiences in Steinbach with me.