The Pistons raking leaves on a lucky Steinbach resident's yard during fall 2017. (Photo courtesy: Mike Kehler).

Pistons impact Steinbach through community volunteering

It has once again been a successful season of giving back to the community for the Pistons organization.

The team set out a 1,500-hour goal during the season of volunteering, and completed the goal late in the season.

Most players had regular routines such as weekly school visits, helping coach Steinbach Minor Hockey practices, skating with home-schooled students, 1-on-1 mentoring with young hockey players, and helping out with presentations in partnership with the MJHL and the Manitoba RCMP.

Another part of volunteering was the one-time visits, including morning school visits around the region, raking leaves around Steinbach in the fall at resident’s homes, shovelling snow, packing hampers for Southeast Helping Hands during Christmas, attending birthday parties, playing outdoor hockey with students, or attending EnVision fundraisers.

“It’s great to see that the numbers are continuing to get higher, and that’s only part of it,” Pistons Team Chaplain Mike Kehler noted. “Part of it is the impact that the players make, whether that’s at one-time events like Christmas hampers, raking people’s yards, or working with EnVision.

Head Coach and GM Paul Dyck was able to see the benefits right away. “They committed to being involved in our community, and I think they quickly started to see the rewards of it, which the guys found to be extremely gratifying,” he said.

Dyck notes that through conversations with parents and grandparents, his players were able to make a connection with the youth in Steinbach in particular. “They talk about how special it is to see our players in the schools, and how the children have benefitted from that as well,” he recalled. “We have a couple of guys that have also spent significant time mentoring young boys, so it’s been special to see the relationships that have developed through that.”

Dyck thanked the Steinbach and Eastman region for embracing the volunteer opportunities that the Pistons undertook this season. “They’ve just been welcoming to our boys, whether that’s with charitable groups, minor hockey, or in the school systems. (The community) has been vital and have played a huge role.”

Kehler says that the volunteer hours spent are another chance to connect with the people of Steinbach in a different way other than on the ice. “It may be just the regular things that guys do such as the weekly school visits and the other things the guys latched onto,” he said. “It just drives the community and connects the community in so many different ways.”