The Steinbach Pistons awards banquet signifies the conclusion of the 2022/23 season which produced an MJHL Championship and a trip to the Centennial Cup.

"There's a lot of emotions this time of the year," head coach Paul Dyck said. "You're saying goodbye to some of the players that have been here for some time. It brings back memories of the first discussions I had with them, the recruiting process, and their decision-making process if they were going to come to Steinbach and how it all played out. We look at the ups and downs of the season, the growth that took place, some of the challenges that we faced as a team and just to see how the players put their nose to the grindstone and kept persevering."

The post-season and beyond is where Dyck says the real lasting memories were made.

"Battling through those rounds in the playoffs and getting to hoist the Turnbull Cup, there's so much emotion that comes with that. We had the privilege and honor of playing in the National Championship, which doesn't happen every year. It's a magical year. It certainly wasn't without flaws or speedbumps but that's what makes it more rewarding, just how we did it. We worked through it all as a group. Give the guys a lot of credit for sticking with it and believing in what we were doing as a team."

The end-of-year banquet is a unique celebration according to the long-time Pistons coach.

"It's a blend of saying goodbye and celebrating the careers of the 20-year-olds who are graduating but also (Wednesday), we had our exit meetings which produce a lot of excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead for our 17,18, and 19-year-olds who are coming back. They'll be a big, big part of this team next year and just to see how excited they are, taking from the experience from the playoff run and the Centennial Cup experience and just wanting to get back to that stage. There are lots of emotions, it's not the sadness of goodbye but knowing some of these players we may not see a lot of, maybe never again balanced with what comes next for our young players coming back."

While the season was deemed a smashing success on the ice, Dyck says what his team was able to accomplish in the community will go just as far in leaving a lasting impression.

"During the exit meetings, a lot of the comments made by the players were about the community. Just how special it was for them, the relationships that had been built, connecting with people at a place like Pat Porter, they've been so incredible and hospitable, so welcoming to our players. They created opportunities for our players to have a place away from the rink. We're so thankful those kinds of doors have been opened to our guys. For the players, it's a big part of their memory of their time here in Steinbach. They're going to have memories from on the ice but largely, the most part of their day is not spent on the ice, but it's in the community connecting with people. That's what the guys and their families will really take away with them."

Looking ahead to 2023/24 the goals as a team remain the same but the location and logistics will certainly be changed.

"It's going to be different," Dyck says with a laugh. "My truck is pretty much on autopilot; it goes from my house to the rink every day. I'm sure I'm going to find myself driving down the wrong street at points this summer, realizing my office isn't there anymore. But we're excited. We know it's in the interim and we have something incredible waiting for us. Now, La Broquerie has been incredibly welcoming to us. We have some renovations to do, and some work to do in conjunction with the RM of La Broquerie to get some things done in the building. The City of Steinbach has made the contribution of glass to the arena. It's been really cool to see the City of Steinbach and the RM of La Broquerie come together and work together on this, it's been really healthy and great to see both sides working together. As an organization, we are so thankful because we require it from both sides."

Some plans will have to wait a bit as things get figured out throughout the off-season.

"When it comes to attendance and ticket sales, things of that nature, we're going to take some time and get the lay of the land. We're not quite familiar with their building so we're going to spend some time in there this summer and come up with a plan for how people can come and support us in La Broquerie."

Along with the Southeast Events Centre, the Pistons are raising funds for their new dressing room, a space in which they hope becomes the talk of the country.

"We have a blank space that we need to outfit with what we need from players' stalls, complete the room, player lounge and make it special and unique. It's a sizeable amount that we will need to make it look the way we want it to, where players feel it's special and unique in Canada. We're starting to accept donations that are tax deductible, if anyone has any questions or wants to get involved in helping out, email, we're happy to answer any questions. It's going to be roughly twice the size of what we have now with the room, the offices, and the VIP area. Our goal and dream is to make it at a level where when people walk in, there's an 'awe factor'. It's also a huge drawing card for players, it's a space they live in and it will have a major impact in recruiting, too."

Having played hockey past the midway point of May doesn't leave a lot of time for Dyck, who says things will be happening fast between now and the start of training camp in 13 or so weeks.

"It's incredible, that's the thing when you play this long, some teams have had two months off while we've been going and focused on the now, now, now. We've got to transition to the future. We'll take a closer look at finalizing our roster here in the summer and now we have the draft coming up on June 4th, which will take a lot of our attention here."

Dyck wanted to pass along a special message to the fans, volunteers, billet families, and businesses that supported the team all season long.

"Thank you. It's been just so amazing this year. We couldn't have done it without you. We are one."