Photo: (L-R) Steinbach Pistons captain Declan Graham; head coach and GM Paul Dyck; MJHL commissioner Kim Davis; CJHL president Brent Ladds
CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League has announced that the Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) have been named the 2018-19 recipient of its Declaration of Principles Award.
On hand for a pre-game ceremony prior to the Pistons home opener were CJHL president Brent Ladds along with MJHL commissioner Kim Davis, who presented Steinbach captain Declan Graham and team head coach Paul Dyck the award, on behalf of the organization.
This honour is presented annually to a member club within the confines of the 10 leagues that comprise the CJHL for their continued efforts in making the game of hockey accessible and available to everyone by using a number of platforms.
“We are encouraged by the strengthening of the outreach, that many of our members have undertaken, since the commitment, presented in the Declaration of Principles was adopted by hockey’s 17 major organizations,” offered CJHL president Brent Ladds.
During the 2018-19 campaign alone, the Steinbach players, staff and entire organization remained heavily involved in multiple community-based endeavours.
The Pistons players themselves bought into these values and belief system and poured over 1,300 hours of their time in connecting with the people in Steinbach as a part of over 60 different initiatives.
“The role played by the Manitoba Junior Hockey League clubs in their respective communities is an important one,” stated MJHL commissioner Kim Davis. “Each of our clubs help their towns/regions generate energy that assists the community in doing good work to benefit others. This is especially evident with the Steinbach Pistons over their history in the league. They embody the MJHL’s community minded focus and have quite obviously demonstrated the key objectives of the Declaration of Principles.”
Forming a strong partnership with enVision, a local organization that supports those individuals with who live with intellectual disabilities, players spent time with the men and woman at enVision by playing games with them; taking them for coffee and even fulfilling the goal of a young woman whose dream it was to go skating on ice with her wheelchair.
Among the other worthwhile projects associated with the club was packing hundreds of food hampers at Christmas for SouthEast Helping Hands; raking leaves and shovelling snow for seniors who were not able to do it on their own; assisting in building community backyard rinks; participating in minor hockey practices and supporting the Hockey Gives Blood campaign while put up Christmas trees at the hospital.
The support the team provided to the local food bank alleviated the pressures of finding volunteers to pack food hampers during a busy and often stressful Christmas season. Players were also immersed in all four elementary schools in Steinbach while supporting teachers and assisting students in the classroom as part of their continuing efforts to support the community.
Building relationships and maintaining involvement in the community been successful in so many areas across Steinbach that has created lifelong memories and amazing friendships while seeing the Pistons’ involvement in these areas almost triple in the past seven years.
“The CJHL and our 10 member Leagues continue to endorse the beliefs of the doctrine. We can only hope that the initiative will continue, and the marriage between our members, and the causes within their communities, continues to grow, much like it has in Steinbach, with the Pistons,” summarized Ladds.
The Pistons organization will be presented with the award during a pre-game ceremony Friday, Sept. 20, just prior to their MJHL home opener at 7 p.m. CT vs. the Winkler Flyers.
ABOUT THE DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) Declaration of Principles were developed by and for hockey stakeholders to advance policies, programs and initiatives, while inspiring fans, players and communities to create the best possible experience for the entire hockey community. This joint statement advocates the game of hockey as a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills that transcend the game.
The CJHL, along with the NHL and the NHLPA, are among a group of 17 hockey organizations world wide that joined together to launch this initiative back in 2017, which aims to inspire stakeholders in an effort to deliver a positive family hockey experience.
Hockey participation offers families value beyond making an individual a better player or even a better athlete. The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. These benefits are available to all players, desirable to every family and transcend the game.
The Declaration of Principles.
• Hockey should be an enjoyable family experience; all stakeholders – organizations, players, parents, siblings, coaches, referees, volunteers and rink operators – play a role in this effort.
• Hockey’s greatest value is the role it plays in the development of character and life skills.
• All hockey organizations – regardless of size or level of competition – bring value to players and families in their ability to deliver a positive family experience.
• Physical activity is important for a healthy body, mind and spirit.
• There are significant benefits of youth participation in multiple sports.
• Hockey programs should be age-appropriate for all players, accounting for each individual’s physical, emotional and cognitive development.
• There is great value in all forms of hockey, both on and off the ice.
• All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Simply put, hockey is for everyone.