It was billed as a Fire and Ice Banquet like none other. And that’s the way it shaped up to be as the Steinbach Pistons hosted their annual February event this past Tuesday evening, with special meal packages delivered to attendees on Monday afternoon and evening. This year’s banquet featured special guests Ron MacLean and Juno Award nominated country group The Hunter Brothers.
MacLean shared musings from all stages of his time in hockey and in broadcasting, from the time he started skating at the age of 4 in Whitehorse, Yukon, to his first job at CKRD Radio in his hometown of Red Deer for $3/hour.
The long-time host of Hockey Night In Canada was formerly the broadcaster of the Red Deer Rustlers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in the early 1980’s. He shared a word of wisdom at the banquet that he picked up from former Rustlers coach, the late Wynne Dempster, that spoke to and commended the relationship the Pistons have with their community. “We in hockey have someone we love in our care, and it’s the greatest responsibility of all,” MacLean recalled.
It also wouldn’t be an event featuring Ron MacLean without hearing a story from his legendary co-host of Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry. MacLean recalled one of his favorite Cherry stories that coincided with Pistons Head Coach Paul Dyck, and his championship run with the Houston Aeros in 1999. That story ended with the famously dressed head coach ripping MacLean during a Corner show at Game 7 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals between Dallas and Colorado for being negative about a heat wave Texas was experiencing, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman coming to thank Cherry immediately after the segment was complete.
The night also featured musical guests The Hunter Brothers, who sang three songs and spoke about how their musical abilities coincided with playing hockey. All five played hockey throughout their early years, with four playing in junior hockey and the oldest brother J.J. playing a few games with the Edmonton Oilers.
It wouldn’t be a Fire and Ice without some of the annual traditions of the night, such as introduction of the players and a Q and A with some of the guys. The Fire and Ice Silent Auction was another big hit of the evening, including former a Cole Smith Nashville Predators jersey signed by the former Piston that went for over $5,000.
The Pistons would like to send a huge thank you to Richardson Pioneer for being our Title Sponsor for Tuesday’s banquet, to HyLife and Chef JP for being our Meal Sponsor, and to WETT Sales and Distribution for being our Wine Sponsor for the evening. The team would like to thank its marketing staff members Jamie Roy and Brighton Thiessen for organizing and putting this entire event and video together. And the Pistons would also like to thank Ron and the Hunter Brothers for taking time out of your schedules to spend your evening with us and our community!