Portage la Prairie, MB – It seems hockey, religion and pride is driving a wedge between Mennonites in Portage la Prairie and Steinbach.

Members of the Steinbach Friesen and Thiessen families have declared a shun on their Portage relatives over alleged acts of blasphemy and worldliness.  The Steinbachers claim the Portage Friesen, Thiessen and other Portage “Mennonite” families are being tempted away from their faith by the evils of Portage la Prairie.

After a recent family gathering held at Island Park, the Steinbach and Portage sides of the Friesen-Thiessen family got into a heated theological debate.  The argument centred around how nice and expensive Island Park and the PCU Centre are.

“No way should you spend that much money on a rink to have kids play hockey in,” said Abe Friesen from Steinbach.  “In Steinbach we have the T.G. Smith centre and it’s nice enough.”

The Steinbach Mennonites take pride in their humble hockey facilities and don’t appreciate the temptation to have kids play hockey on Sundays.

“The millions of dollars used for that rink could have built a dozen churches,” offered Friesen.  “We care about building churches and supporting missions.  We don’t need a fancy arena like Portage, Dauphin or Virden.  We are Mennonites!”

Portage Thiessens point to the fact that a recent tournament saw the Steinbach peewee team lose to Portage and that some Portage Terrier fans starting mocking the Steinbach Pistons Junior A team.

“We were just having some fun after having our Pepsi and Revels for dessert and one of us may have called them the Pissed Ons in fun,” said Jake Friesen of Newton.

Thiessens from Steinbach also point out that Portage Mennonites have become “Jantsied” with many of them attending Baptist, Alliance and Pentecostal churches rather than Mennonite denominations.

“Shoot, even some of the Mennonite churches have gotten rid of the name Mennonite,” bemoaned Peter Friesen from Steinbach.  “If they are ashamed of the Mennonite name then maybe we’ll be ashamed of them.”

Abe Thiessen of Portage did share he felt Portage Mennonites contribute a lot to their local churches.  “We helped raise money for our church’s multi-million dollar lobby.  Okay it’s not technically a Mennonite church but lots of Wiebes, Thiessens and Neufelds go there.”

No word at press time on how long the shun will last but Winkler Mennonites are becoming anxious over how this might impact family gatherings planned for the Lowe Farm area and their plans for an upgraded arena.


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One Response

  1. Gregoire Roberto

    I think that if cousins Harry Dyck and Dick Harder would have spent more time with themselves rather than stick their big noses and other extremities in good Portage folks business, we’d all be a happier lot.


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