By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
No one will argue that junior A hockey is a highly physical game played by young men in top physical condition. Emotions sometimes run high…..players are sometimes sent to the penalty box.
In 60 games, Daniel Taillefer of the Steinbach Pistons made just one trip to the penalty box, or sin bin as it’s sometimes nicknamed. To repeat: One trip. Two minutes. In 60 games.
Taillefer’s feat is truly remarkable. And for that, the classy Piston forward was recently named winner of the Lorne ‘Windy’ Lyndon trophy, given to the player who shows the most hockey ability and sportsmanship.
While staying out of the penalty box, the 20-year-old La Broquerie native had no problem finding the net, or contributing offensively to his team. When the regular season concluded, Taillefer finished fourth in scoring this year with 22 goals and 59 assists.
“It was a great honour, as there was a lot of players in this league who could have won that award,” said Taillefer. “To win it is pretty cool, and I was pretty excited about it.”
Consistent would be the best word to describe the play of Taillefer. Last season he took only six minute in penalties, combined with a strong offensive showing of 59 points.
Taillefer is definitely a believer in the ‘less is more’ motto – as in the less time he spends in the penalty box, the more time he can spend helping his team.
“I’ve always been good at staying out of the box,” he said. “I try to play hard, and go the dirty areas of the ice, but I find that you can’t really help your team if you’re in the box, so I try to hold in my emotions and be disciplined.”
The Pistons finished No. 2 overall in the league this year, and in doing so will wait to see how the Survivor Series pans out before they know who their first-round opponent will be. That said, Taillefer and the Pistons appear to be in store for a long playoff run.
“We’re really excited,” said Taillefer about the upcoming playoffs. “This year we have the best depth at forward that I’ve ever been a part of. Our defence and goalies are really solid as well, so I think we have a pretty good chance to go all the way.”
And as the playoffs go on and his junior career inches closer to the end, Taillefer knows this won’t be the end of his hockey career. He hopes to use this award-winning season as a springboard to an education and the chance to play post-secondary hockey.
“I’m looking to play hockey at a school,” he said. “I’m not sure where that’s going to be or what it’s going to look at, but that is the plan right now.
“I need to continue to work hard in practice, and in the game you make sure you work hard on every shift, but not try to do too much,” he added. “Hopefully the right guys get to see you and you get that opportunity to go to the next level.