The Steinbach Pistons are excited to announce that graduating forward Bradley Schoonbaert has committed to the University of Calgary Dinos of U Sports for the upcoming season.
Schoonbaert appeared in one game with the Dauphin Kings in the 2014-15 season before being acquired by the Pistons in a draft day deal that sent him to Steinbach.
The Brandon native then spent the next 3 seasons rewriting the franchise history books.
“Since bantam, people had questions about him in terms of making the jump to the next level, and he’s always answered those questions,” Pistons Head Coach and GM Paul Dyck said. “He’s been productive at every level, and every year he continues to be more and more productive. That’s just what he does, and there’s no question in my mind that he’s going to make the adjustment to U Sports. I wouldn’t be surprised in 3 or 4 years that he’s at the top of the scoring list on their team.”
“I am planning on taking Arts in my first year, and then transitioning into business the following year,” Schoonbaert said. “I don’t know what I want to do yet but I will use the first year or two to see what interests me.”
He scored 52 points in the 2015-16 season, 72 points in 2016-17, and set Piston records this season with 36 goals and 91 points during the 2017-18 season.
Schoonbaert was recognized for his play by being named an MJHL MVP finalist this year. He is tied at the top with Dan Taillefer for all-time goals by a Pistons player with 90, and sits in 2nd place behind Taillefer for assists and points in franchise history.
After crushing losses in the MJHL playoffs during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, Schoonbaert says that winning the Turnbull and ANAVET Cups this past season was a huge weight lifted off of the shoulders. “It was an incredible feeling; it’s one thing to win but it’s another to win after years of heart break.” he explained. “The emotions that I felt are something I’ll never forget, especially winning 2 championships in the same season. It was something truly special to share it with the group we had this season and to be rewarded for our hard work.”
Schoonbaert will also go down having scored the most memorable goal in Pistons history, as his game-winning third period goal in Game 6 of the ANAVET Cup sent Steinbach to its first RBC Cup this year.
“That was probably my favorite individual moment as a Piston,” Schoonbaert recalled. “To score a goal of that magnitude in my last game at the TG was something I will never forget, and I couldn’t think of a better way to go out.”
“I thought that was very fitting. His last game on home ice, and he scores the goal that sends us to the national championship,” Dyck said. “What a great way to cap his career here in Steinbach. He’s an intelligent player that makes everyone around him better, and we wish him the very best. I have no doubt that he’s going to be successful with the Dinos.”
Although Schoonbaert will not be donning the familiar #15 white and blue Piston jersey next season, he says that his 3 years in the Auto City was where he grew the most on and off the ice. “I have grown so much just by being around so many other great people,” he said. “My billets Bruce and Kim Penner were unbelievable, and I was lucky enough to live with great guys at that house which made it extra enjoyable.
“I was given lots of opportunity to be successful, and I have Paul and the staff to thank for that,” he continued. “It’s very contagious in an organization or community to be a great person when you have so many great people around you. I can’t thank everyone in the city of Steinbach or the Pistons organization enough for that.”