Portage la Prairie is set to be flooded with hockey talent for the next two weeks. 

The Centennial Cup begins on Thursday at Stride Place with ten teams looking to capture the National Junior A Championship. The hometown Portage Terriers will be looking to put their best skate forward, but they're not the only Manitoban team to qualify.

The Steinbach Pistons won the MJHL Championship in five games over the Virden Oil Capitals to punch their ticket to the tournament. Head coach Paul Dyck says there's nothing like raising that Turnbull Cup trophy at the end of the playoffs, especially in their last game at the Centennial Arena.

"For our fans and our community, what a special ending that was. It was just an incredible environment," Dyck explains. "To see our guys be rewarded for the work they put in was great. We had a lot of conversations over the last six to eight weeks about how difficult it is to get to this point in time. I'm really proud of their effort."

Dyck describes the final moments of Game 5 against the Oil Capitals as surreal.

"It started with the empty net goal. We bought ourselves a little bit of time there to really enjoy that moment," Dyck continues. "It was challenging to keep the guys on the bench focused. The building just got so loud. It was louder than I'd ever heard it in there. It was a complete release of energy and emotion."

Pistons' forward Ty Paisley was on fire in the playoffs, putting up 29 points in 18 games, including four goals and four assists in the five-game finals. Dominik Wasik was the other catalyst for Steinbach in the postseason, as the goaltender had four shutouts and a 0.921 save percentage.

The head coach has now captured his third Turnbull Cup with the Pistons and compares his past wins to this one.

"They're all unique. That first one (2013) kind of came by surprise. In 2018, I think we were one of the clear-cut favourites. This year, we had maybe more adversity than in 2018 but the guys responded to it. There were probably some people that doubted our ability to do this in February."

Dyck says after the finals, their main objective was to take a few days to regroup.

"Our first priority was to get some rest and some time away from the rink. We'll do some prep on each of the teams. Pages get turned get really quickly. It's kind of like the regular season, where it's a different opponent every night. We'll start with Collingwood. I know they have a great team there."

The Pistons will face off with the Collingwood Blues on Thursday at 7:30 in the first night game of the Centennial Cup tournament.