By Lanny Stewart
Brady Tatro is a long way from home but he’s fitting in quite nicely in his second season with the Steinbach Pistons.
“I’ve been fortunate to find the scoreboard early this season,” said the 20-year-old forward, from Bemidji, Minn., who currently sits second in the MJHL scoring race with 11 goals and 24 points in 16 games (as of Oct. 29).
Tatro credits his linemates Brendan Martin and Boedey Vaeth for his early success as both players are also currently in the top 15 in league scoring.
“They make my job very easy,” said Tatro, who noted it’s been an overall team effort for the club’s 10-5-1-0 start to the year. “In terms of points, none of us are keeping track, that’s not our job. Our job is to come ready to play every game and I think we do that very well.”
Tatro and the Pistons are coming off a magical season a year ago, finishing 40 games above .500 during the regular season, losing only eight games in regulation time. Tatro and the Pistons marched all the way to the league final, defeating the Virden Oil Capitals in six games to win the organization’s second Turnbull Cup in team history.
“I wish I could explain last season to you, but it still leaves me speechless,” Tatro said. “The best part about it was doing it with the group of guys we had. I’ve never been on a team that is so close and just gels so well together. It will be a season the boys and I will never forget.”
The Pistons players who were on the club last season recently received their championship rings and it’s an experience Tatro will cherish for the rest of his life.
“There is a picture in the locker room of the returnees on our team opening them up and seeing them for the first time and our facial expressions say it all. I believe receiving the rings lit a fire in us and provided a little motivation to try our best to get another (ring).”
While growing up in Minnesota, considered the ‘state of hockey’ in the U.S., Tatro has been around the game for most of his life. He began playing the sport at an early age and vividly remembers watching his older brother play for the Bemidji Lumberjacks, a well-known popular high school team in Minnesota. Years later, Tatro himself would eventually participate in the Minnesota State High School Tournament. The longstanding tournament is well attended and takes place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
“That was a great experience,” said Tatro, who considers himself a Minnesota sports fan, rooting for a variety of teams, including the NFL’s Vikings.
Tatro has nothing but fond things to say about Pistons head coach and GM Paul Dyck, who played a key role in recruiting him to Steinbach.
“Talking to coach Dyck and the way he presented himself was the selling point for both myself and my family. I have had nothing but great experiences in Steinbach.”
What’s next for Tatro after this season? Hopefully a Division I scholarship.
“The college route is definitely the way I am looking to go,” he said.
Tatro’s positive story is just one of several in the MJHL that involve motivated American players who are taking advantage of the excellent development opportunities the MJHL provides, says Kevin Saurette, Director of Operations for the MJHL.
“There have been many American players who have used the MJHL as a positive stepping stone in their development path and this is a trend we believe will continue to grow.”
The MJHL would like to wish Brady the best of luck the rest of this season!