The latest captain of the Steinbach Pistons,  Zac Patrick, announced he will be suiting up for the UofM Bisons next season.

"It's really exciting, they have a really good team," said the 20-year-old defender after the announcement. "It's a good group of guys there, a lot of which I played with. Even some from Steinbach, like my former teammate Cody Behun. He's one of the big names I know on the team, one of my buddies and I have a lot of those who I've played with or against. It just makes me feel real comfortable going into that new setting, it's all just very exciting."

On top of having teammates he's already familiar with, Patrick says getting to stay at home is also a bonus. "It takes away a lot of the stress of moving to a new city, new location, trying to figure out new living situations. So, being able to start my college hockey career at home and being able to have that comfort of sleeping in my own bed the whole time, it just makes the transition so much smoother."

A competitive fire still burns within Patrick and he admits playing with the Bisons will keep it going. "I'm most definitely not done playing hockey.  I'm not ready to be done with it, yet. Getting to play against bigger and older guys, it'll be like when I started out playing in the Western Hockey League. Some things will be familiar, the hockey will be faster, more of a structured game. I've been talking with the coaches and I'm just excited to see how I stack up against those bigger players. I just want to get going as soon as possible."

Spending the 2021-2022 season as captain of the Pistons, Patrick says it's something he'll carry with him no matter where he goes, on the ice and off. "It may seem like a small thing, being a captain in Junior A but it means a lot. From the hockey side and just as a person. Being given the ability to lead by Paul (Dyck) and the team, earning the respect of those guys, going through the ups and downs of the season, and being able to lead. Having the respect of the guys really gave me a confidence boost. It made me believe I could perform better and be more confident as a person as well. It was really great and I'm very thankful I got to do it."

Patrick says having the community support is what makes playing in Steinbach so special and it's something he'll never, ever forget. "It means a lot, how much people care. It seems like playing in Steinbach can have that smaller town feel but you know, the support is tremendous. I've said it many times. Steinbach is a model Junior A franchise. From top to bottom. From the coaches to the players they bring in to the entire community. It's unmatched, especially in the MJHL. The people make us 16-20-year-old guys feel like we're making a big difference. People care and it's special. It means the world to a young hockey player to feel like we've made an impact."