Windsor Spitfires

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Windsor Spitfires
Windsor Spitfires Logo.svg
City Windsor, Ontario
League Ontario Hockey League
Conference Western
Division West
Founded 1971–72 (Tier II Junior A)
1975 (1975)–76 (Tier I Junior A)
Home arena WFCU Centre
Colours Blue, White, Red
              
General manager Canada Warren Rychel
Head coach Canada Bob Boughner[1]
Affiliate(s) LaSalle Vipers (GOJHL)
Championships 2009 & 2010 Memorial Cup Champions
1988, 2009, & 2010 OHL Champions
1974 SOJHL Champions

Website
http://www.windsorspitfires.com/

The Windsor Spitfires are a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The team is based in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1971, the franchise was promoted to the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League for the 1975–76 season.[2] An unrelated OHA Jr. A Spitfires team, founded in 1946, moved to become the Hamilton Tiger Cubs in 1953 and went through other iterations/moves to become the present OHL Erie Otters in 1996.[2]

History[edit]

Dalen Kuchmey (December 2013)

The Original Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey Association played hockey from 1945 to 1953.[2] During this period the Spitfires reached the league finals twice, and featured four future Hockey Hall of Fame players. Prior to 1945 local junior hockey was divided up into the 6-team Windsor Junior Hockey League. The folding of the Spitfires occurred in 1953 as hockey interests in Windsor chose to focus their attention on the OHA Senior A Hockey League. This resulted in the founding of the Windsor Bulldogs. Eventually five former Spitfires laced up with the Bulldogs and one, Bobby Brown, won an Allan Cup with the team (1963). The Bulldogs folded in 1964 after one season in the International Hockey League.

Tier II Junior A[edit]

The modern Windsor Spitfires started as a Tier II Junior A team which played in the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League from 1971–1975. The Spitfires first game as a franchise was in Guelph, Ontario against the Guelph CMC's on October 1, 1971. The Spitfires lost the game 11-3, with Laurie Gregan scoring the first two goals in team history in the first period. Fifteen-year-old goaltender Larry Verlinde played the entire first game in team history, making 37 saves in the loss.[3] The home game and first victory in team history occurred on October 7, 1971 at the Windsor Arena against the Chatham Maroons. The Spitfires would win 4-2 on the back of future NHLer Eddie Mio who made 49 saves for the victory. Dean Sheremeta scored what would be the winning goal.[4]

The Spitfires would finish their first season with a record of 21 wins, 32 losses, and 3 ties. Finishing sixth place out of eight teams, the Spitfires would draw local rival Chatham Maroons in a best-of-seven league quarter-final. The Maroons, who finished third with 33 wins, 17 losses, and 6 ties, were favoured to win.[5] The Spitfires' first ever playoff game, in Chatham, Ontario, took place on February 23, 1972, a 3-2 win over the Maroons to take an early one-game lead in the series. Goaltender Bryan Rose made 35 saves in the winning effort, while the Spits' first ever playoff goal and later winning goals were scored by Wolf Hiesl, both in the second period.[6] The Spitfires would surrender the next four games straight to the Maroons to end their season.[7]

The 1972-73 season, the Spitfires second season, finished with their first winning record - 30 wins, 21 losses, and 9 ties. Finishing third in a league of seven teams, the Spitfires drew the fourth place Niagara Falls Flyers (28-25-7) in the league quarter-final. The Spits dropped game one 6-4 in Niagara Falls, while in game two the Spits tied the series with a 6-4 win of their own at home. Back in Niagara, the Flyers shellacked the Spitfires 7-2 to take the series lead again. The fourth game was a disaster for the Spitfires, at home they blew a third period deadlock to lose 7-5 and fall behind in the series 3-games-to-1. In game five, the Spitfires needed to make a change. Future IHLer Tony Piroski and partner Jean Pominville had uninspired starts in games three and four and were replaced by third-string goalie, and future NHLer, Rick Heinz. Heinz had spent the season in Junior B with the Spitfires' farm team Windsor Royals and was new to the pressure of Junior A playoff hockey. The gamble paid off, as an inspired Spitfire squad won the game 9-4 while Heinz capped of a 24-save night for the victory.[8] In game six, Coach Jerry Serviss returned to his starting goalie, Tony Piroski, in net on the road. Piroski rewarded his coach's confidence with a 5-4, 33-save victory - evening the series at 3 games each. Mark Smith scored the eventual game winner for the Spitfires.[9] Game seven saw the two teams return for a final showdown at the Windsor Arena. The Spitfires would take the game 6-3 in front of a capacity crowd of 5,189 fans.[10] The victory, winning in seven games, was the Spitfires' first ever playoff series victory. Waiting for them, rested for the semi-final, was the first place Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters (39-13-8). The Biltmores, defending National Champions, made short work of the Spitfires sweeping them in four games.[11]

Slater Koekkoek (December 2013)

The 1973-74 season would prove to be the defining moment of the Spitfires stint in Tier II Junior A. Headed by new Head Coach and General Manager Wayne Maxner, the Spitfires would win the Southern Ontario Junior A regular season title with a record of 39 wins, 15 losses, and 8 ties. Their record would put them four points ahead of the second place Welland Sabres and automatically give them a berth into the league playoff semi-finals. Scott Miller would win the SOJHL scoring title with 73 goals and 125 points over the course of the season.[12] The Spitfires semi-final opponent was their cross-river rival Detroit Jr. Red Wings. The Red Wings had finished the season in fifth out of eight teams (31-25-6). The semi-final opened up at the Windsor Arena with a 7-1 win for the Spitfires. They were at the Detroit Olympia for game two, another romp for Windsor as they won 8-0. Back in Windsor, the Spitfires won game three 9-2. At the Olympia for game four, the Red Wings attempted to stage some resistance, but the Spitfires were too much, winning 7-5. The four game sweep of the Red Wings allowed Windsor to rest up for the winner of the Chatham Maroons and Welland Sabres, a series just starting.[13] On March 16, 1974, the Spitfires engaged long time foe Chatham Maroons at the Windsor Arena in the first game of the SOJHL Final. The Maroons fell in that first game 6-1, but rebounded the next night in Chatham with a 5-2 victory of their own. On March 18, goalie Dennis Thorpe's 40 save performance and third period game winner by Gary Armstrong gave the Spitfires a 2-1 home victory and a lead in the series.[14] The Spitfires took game four in Chatham with a 6-4 win. The next night, March 21, the Spitfires defeated the Maroons in Windsor 4-3 to clinch the SOJHL playoff championship. Gary Armstrong would score yet another winning goal in the series. Before a crowd of 5,117 fans, team captain Hugh Mitchell hoisted the Jack Oakes Memorial Trophy to celebrate their playoff victory.[15] The Spitfires were now in the hunt for the 1974 Centennial Cup, the National Championship of Tier II Junior A hockey. The first team in their way, in the Dudley Hewitt Cup Eastern Canada playdowns was the Wexford Raiders of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League. Also on the line was the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A championship, the Buckland Cup. The Spitfires took game one in Rexdale with a 4-2 victory. Back in Windsor the next night, the Spitfires seemed to have the series in control with a 5-2 win. The Raiders had other things in mind, winning at home in game three 6-2 and then taking it to Windsor in their own arena 4-1 to tie the series. Back in Rexdale, the Raiders crushed the Spitfires with an 8-2 victory. With their back against the wall, the Spits had to win at home to force game seven. A 7-5 victory for the Spitfires turned this into a series for the ages. On April 6, 1974, the Spitfires season came to an end, as the Wexford Raiders took a 6-3 victory at home to advance to the next round of national playdowns.[16] Scott Miller would be named the team's most valuable player.[12]

The Windsor Spitfires applied for expansion to the OMJHL (later known as the OHL) during their 1974 playoff run, but were rejected due to the "unacceptability of Windsor Arena as a major A facility." Their farm team, the Windsor Royals Junior B team of the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League put in a rival bid but were also rejected due to lack of an acceptable arena.[17]

In 1974-75, Jim Butcher coached the Spits to a second straight regular season title with a record of 40 wins, 15 losses, and 5 ties, 11 points ahead of the second place Welland Sabres (30-16-14). John Tavella won the league scoring title with 54 goals and 117 points and goaltender Floyd St. Cyr led the league with the least goals against.[18] The Spitfires' first opponent in the playoff semi-final was the last place Detroit Jr. Red Wings (15-38-9). At home, the Spits took game one 11-2. Back at the Detroit Olympia, the Spits won 8-2. Again in Windsor, the Spits took game three 10-1. The Spits had the chance to clinch in game four, but the Red Wings refused to let their season end in front of their Detroit faithful winning 5-3. Game five, in Windsor, Ian Campbell would score a late third period tally to break a 2-2 deadlock and send the Spitfires to the league finals. The fourth place Guelph Bilmores (23-31-6) stood in the way of the Spitfires. The Biltmores had upset the second place Welland Sabres in the league quarter-final in five games and the third place Chatham Maroons 8-points-to-6 (3 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties) and were looking to shock the Spitfires too. The Biltmores had caused trouble for the Spitfires all season as their head-to-head record was 5 wins each and 2 ties in 12 matches.[19] After a week layoff, the Spitfires were up against a hot opponent and were missing scoring champion John Tavella to a three-games suspension for butt-ending against Detroit. The Spits dropped the first game, at home, 6-5 after giving up a late 2-on-1 odd-man rush late in the third period. The next night, in Guelph, the Spitfires led 6-1 in the first and 8-4 in the second to blow the lead in the third and finish with a 9-9 overtime tie. The Spitfires tied up the series in game three with a 4-2 win in Windsor. In Guelph for game four, the Spitfires blew a first period 3-0 lead to lose 6-4. Game five saw the Spitfires tie the series at five points a piece with an 8-4 win at home. Guelph again gained the advantage in game six with a 6-4 win at home. In a last gasp for air, the Spitfires fought to win a 6-4 decision in Windsor to tie the series at 7 points each and force a final eighth game - winner take all. The eighth game proved to be the Spitfires' last game of Tier II Junior A, as they traveled to Guelph and blew a 3-0 lead to lose the game (6-5) and the series (9-points-to-7) to end their four year trek in the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League.[20]

The Spitfires were granted entry into the OMJHL (later known as the OHL) as an expansion franchise for the 1975–76 OMJHL season in February 1975. The league's board of governors unanimously accepted the Spitfires despite their arena's surface being smaller than Major Junior A standards. The Spitfires' had pumped $200,000 into the arena over the past two years, so the league overlooked the surface size despite taking issue with it in their 1974 rejection of the Spitfires' expansion bid.[21]

Major Junior[edit]

On September 25, 1975, Major Junior hockey returned to the Windsor Arena for the first time in twenty-two years. In front of 4,335 fans, the Windsor Spitfires hosted the Oshawa Generals. The game would be an eye-opener for the Spitfires, as they were defeated 10-1 by the Generals. Wayne Mills started in net for the Spits, but would be later relieved by back-up Bob Parent when the Generals made it 7-0 at 11:29 of the second period. The two goaltenders combined for 30 saves, as the Spits were outshot 40-23. Rolly Hedges scored the first Major Junior goal in team history at 18:48 of the second period.[22]

On October 2, 1975, the Spitfires would win their first ever Major Junior game. At home, the Spits were hosting the Sudbury Wolves. In a game, being outshot 60-34, the Spitfires overcame a six-goal deficit to defeat the Wolves 11-10. After trailing 7-1 only 2:49 into the second period, the Spitfires were able to chip the lead down to 9-7 by the second intermission. Charlie Skjodt scored to make it 9-9 to complete the comeback, just to have the Wolves score with 6:33 to go in the game to make it 10-9. Charles Bosnyak, a member of the 1974-75 Tier II Spitfires, scored 32 seconds later to make it 10-10 and captain Mark Perras scored with 43 seconds remaining to win the Spits' first ever Major Junior game. Bob Parent would make 50 saves to cap off the historic victory.[23]

The "Spits" as they are commonly known, won their first Emms division title in 1980 and reached the OHL finals, but lost to the Peterborough Petes. Ernie Godden set an all-time OHL record in 1980–81 scoring 87 goals. In 1984 Peter Karmanos, the founder and CEO of Compuware, bought the team and renamed them the Windsor Compuware Spitfires.

In a well-executed four-year plan, Windsor won the J. Ross Robertson Cup in 1987–88, defeating the Peterborough Petes for the OHL championship. The Compuware Spitfires won 35 of their last 36 games played, including being the first team to be undefeated in the OHL playoffs. Windsor also won 54 games and lost none, when leading after two periods. The Spitfires played in the 1988 Memorial Cup hosted in Chicoutimi, Quebec. Windsor lost in the championship game to the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Karmanos sold the team to local construction magnate Steve Riolo after the 1988–89 season, and the team reverted the Windsor Spitfires name and adopted their modern logo.

Conflict, renewal, tragedy[edit]

Andrew Engelage looks on, wearing Spitfires throwback jersey (November 2008).

On October 18, 2005, Head Coach Moe Mantha was handed a 40 game suspension and later terminated without pay, for a hazing incident that occurred aboard a bus after a pre-season game versus the London Knights. An altercation involving players Steve Downie and Akim Aliu, in which Aliu lost four teeth, led to public exposure of the compulsive hazing within the Spitfires organization. Downie was traded to the Peterborough Petes, and Aliu was traded to the Sudbury Wolves.

On April 6, 2006, the Ontario Hockey League Board of Governors announced the approval of a new ownership group for the Windsor Spitfires. The group is composed of Bob Boughner, Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich. All three men had history in Windsor with OHL hockey, and the group had expressed hope to move the team into a new arena. Boughner assumed the roles of President, CEO and head coach of the Spitfires, Rychel was named director of player development, and Dobrich the new business manager.

On February 18, 2008, team captain and Calgary Flames prospect[24] Mickey Renaud died of an undetected heart condition[25] in his Tecumseh, Ontario home. General Manager Warren Rychel referred to Renaud's death as "the biggest tragedy in Spitfire history".[26] His number was retired by both the Spitfires[27] and the Tecumseh Chiefs Junior B franchise[28] that he played on before graduating to Major Junior. Mayor Eddie Francis named a road leading to the WFCU Centre in Renaud's honour, Mickey Renaud Way.[27] At the 2009 OHL All-Star Game at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, OHL Commissioner David Branch announced that the Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy would be awarded to the "team captain that best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice as well as hard work, passion and dedication to the game of hockey and their community" in honour of Renaud.[29]

2008–09 season[edit]

The Windsor Spitfires finished the 2008–09 season with 57 wins, 10 losses, and 1 shootout loss.[30] This marked their best season in franchise history. With the first overall record in the Ontario Hockey League the Spitfires were awarded the Hamilton Spectator Trophy.[30] The Spitfires also played their final games in the Windsor Arena.[31] The Spits were undefeated at home in the Old Barn during the 2008–09 season. Mid-season they moved to the WFCU Centre.[31] The Spitfires and their new arena played host to the 2009 All-Star Game.[32] On May 12, Goalie Andrew Engelage broke the OHL record for most wins by a goaltender in a single season with 46 with a 5-1 win over the Plymouth Whalers.[33]

In the first round of the playoffs, the Spitfires walked all over the Owen Sound Attack, taking the series in four games.[34] In the next round, the Spits found the Plymouth Whalers to be a more formidable opponent. After trading off road wins, then trading off home wins, the Spits took Games 5 and 6 to clinch the series.[35] In the Western Conference final, the Spits played their nemesis the London Knights. Led by John Tavares, the Knights were a tough opponent. Every game in the series went to overtime, but the Spitfires were victorious and won the series 4-games-to-1 to earn a berth to the OHL Final and take the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as Conference champions.[36] The OHL Final began with a 10-1 victory for the Spitfires over the Eastern Conference's Brampton Battalion led by stars Cody Hodgson and Matt Duchene. The series became much tighter from there as the Spits took Game 2 5-3. The Battalion fought back in Game 3, winning 4-2. Game 4 belonged to the Spitfires as they took a 4-1 win and a 3-1 series lead. Game 5 was a tight affair, as the Spitfires took a 1-0 lead midway through the second period on the power play. Brampton tied the game up late in the third period to force overtime. At 2:09 of the first overtime period, Taylor Hall scored on the power play to win the Spitfires their second J. Ross Robertson Cup as league champions and a berth into the 2009 Memorial Cup.[37] The victory was the Spitfires' first league title since the 1987–88 OHL season and marked their second time playing for the Memorial Cup.[38] On May 9, Mayor of Windsor Eddie Francis awarded the team with the Key to the City in honour of their achievement.[39]

At the 2009 Memorial Cup, the Spitfires dropped their first two games in Rimouski 3-2 in overtime to the Drummondville Voltigeurs and 5-4 to the Rimouski Océanic.[40] In a do-or-die game, the Spitfires won the final game of the round robin 2-1 over the Kelowna Rockets to gain entry to the tie-breaker game.[41] In the tie-breaker, Windsor defeated the hometown Océanic 6-4 powered by a third period natural hat-trick by Dale Mitchell.[42] The tournament semi-final was between the Spitfires and the Voltigeurs. The Spitfires blew an early 2-0 lead, but won 3-2 in overtime of a goal by Adam Henrique[43] to become the second team ever to play in the Memorial Cup final after playing in the tie-breaker game.[44] In the final, the Spitfires again played the Rockets. The Spitfires scored on their first three shots and cruised to a 4-1 win to take their first ever Memorial Cup championship. Their victory marked the first time a team started with two losses in the Memorial Cup round robin and came back to win the championship.[45] The feat also marks the first time that a team has survived the Memorial Cup tie-breaker game to win the championship.[46] The Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy was awarded to Taylor Hall as Memorial Cup playoffs most valuable player. Both Ryan Ellis and Hall were elected to the tournament's All-Star Team.[47] Throughout the Memorial Cup tournament, the Spitfires hung Mickey Renaud's jersey on their bench and the championship was won in Renaud's memory.[47]

In the aftermath of the championship, the team was met at the Windsor Airport by a large contingent of local fans and was addressed by Mayor Eddie Francis.[48] It was announced that the road to the new WFCU Centre would be renamed Memorial Cup Drive in honour of the victory.[49]

2009–10 season[edit]

The Spitfires came back in 2009–10 with a second straight 50-or-more win season, finishing with a record of 50 wins, 12 losses, 1 overtime loss, and 5 shootout losses. The record was good enough for the top seed in the Western Conference, but not good enough to clinch their second straight Hamilton Spectator Trophy (won by the Barrie Colts). For being the top team in their division, the Spitfires were awarded their second straight Bumbacco Trophy. Taylor Hall would tie Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers in the scoring lead and both were awarded the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as co-scoring champions. The Spitfires also played host to the CHL Top Prospects Game.

The Spitfires sent six players to the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Ryan Ellis, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, and Greg Nemisz played for Silver Medallist Canada, Cam Fowler played for Gold Medallist United States, Richard Panik played for Slovakia, and Philipp Grubauer competed in the B Pool for Germany. At the end of the tournament, the Spitfires acquired defencemen Marc Cantin, forward Stephen Johnston and German goalie Philipp Grubauer from the Belleville Bulls in exchange for forwards Richard Panik and Austen Brassard, defencemen Paul Bezzo, goaltender Steve Gleeson, and a seventh round pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Spitfires swept the Erie Otters in four games. In the Conference semi-final, the Spitfires swept the Plymouth Whalers in four games. In the other semi-final, the Kitchener Rangers defeated the London Knights in seven games. With the Spitfires nemesis out of the playoffs, Windsor seemed to take the Rangers too easy at first and quickly found themselves down 3-games-to-none in the series. The Spitfires would become the third team in Ontario Hockey League history to come back from a three game deficit to win a series as they took the series in seven over the Rangers to win the conference and the Wayne Gretzky Trophy. In the league final, the Spitfires made quick work of a highly touted Barrie Colts squad, sweeping them in four games for the J. Ross Robertson Cup. Adam Henrique won the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the playoff's most valuable player.

In May, the Spitfires travelled to Brandon, Manitoba for the 2010 Memorial Cup. In their first game, the Spitfires trampled the host Brandon Wheat Kings 9-3. In their second game, the Spitfires shocked the Western Hockey League champion Calgary Hitmen with a 6-2 win. With the win, the Spitfires had punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup final by way of tie-breakers. They did not need to defeat the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats, but did anyway, 4-3 in overtime. In the tournament final, the Spitfires would play the Brandon Wheat Kings again. This time, the Spitfires defeated the Wheat Kings 9-1 en route to their second straight Memorial Cup as National Junior Hockey Champions. Their victory marked their 12th straight win since going down 0-3 to Kitchener, as they finished the playoffs with 20 wins and 3 losses. Taylor Hall won his second straight Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as Memorial Cup most valuable player, the first repeat winner in the trophy's history.

2010–11 season[edit]

After two straight Memorial Cups, the Summer of 2010 saw leading scorer Taylor Hall go first overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the Edmonton Oilers and Coach Bob Boughner accepted an assistant coaching job with the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets. The Spitfires have engaged in a massive overhaul involving many trades.

During the exhibition season, the Spitfires hosted the Czech Under-20 National Team. The Spitfires came back to win the game 5-4. Spitfires finished the exhibition schedule with 4 wins 1 loss and 1 tie.

After another successful season the Spits finished 4th in the Western Conference to advance to the playoffs. The Spitfires reached the Conference Final for the third consecutive year. Following two hard fought battles the Spits were eliminated from the playoffs for the first time in three years by the Owen Sound Attack. The Attack went on the win the OHL Championship.

2011-12 season[edit]

After one season with the Columbus Blue Jackets as assistant coach, Bob Boughner returned to the Spitfires as Head Coach, with Bob Jones remaining on the staff as his assistant.

On August 10, 2012, the Spitfires were fined an unprecedented $400,000 CAD by the Ontario Hockey League and forfeited five first round OHL Priority Draft picks in 2013, 2014, and 2016 and second round picks in 2015 and 2017 for unspecified recruitment violations.[50] The Spitfires claimed innocence to the recruitment violations and plan to appeal the decision.[51]

2013-14 season[edit]

On December 29, 2013, the Spitfires and the Saginaw Spirit played the first ever outdoor game in Ontario Hockey League history. The game was played at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Spitfires won the game 6-5 in front of a shortly lived Canadian Hockey League record of 25,749 spectators, surpassed later that night by the London Knights and Plymouth Whalers at the same venue.[52]

Championships[edit]

Spitfires salute fans in Windsor Arena as Oshawa Generals look on (November 2008).

The Windsor Compuware Spitfires won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy, the J. Ross Robertson Cup, and were the top-ranked junior team in Canada during the 1987–88 season.

Coaches[edit]

List of coaches with multiple seasons in parentheses.

  • 1971–72 – Jerry Serviss & George Aitken
  • 1972–73 – Jerry Serviss
  • 1973–74Wayne Maxner
  • 1974–75Dick Duff & Jim Butcher
  • 1975–76 – Doug Johnston & Wayne Maxner
  • 1976–80 – Wayne Maxner (8)
  • 1980–81 – Ron Harris & Ron Carroll
  • 1981–82Marcel Pronovost (2)
  • 1982–83 – Marcel Pronovost, Doug Imrie, John Becanic
  • 1983–84 – Bob Boucher, Terry McConnell, Wayne Maxner
  • 1984–85 – Mark Craig
  • 1985–86Tom Webster (8)
  • 1986–87 – Tom Webster, Jim Rutherford, Tony McDonald
  • 1987–89 – Tom Webster (8)
  • 1989–91 – Brad Smith (3)
  • 1991–92 – Brad Smith, Wayne Maxner, Dave Prpich (3)
  • 1992–93 – Wayne Maxner, Kevin McIntosh
  • 1993–94 – Shane Parker
  • 1994–95 – Mike Kelly (5)
  • 1995–96 – Mike Kelly & Paul Gillis
  • 1996–97 – Paul Gillis (2)
  • 1997–98Vern Stenlund, Dave Prpich, Tony Curtale
  • 1998–99 – Tony Curtale (2) & Dave Prpich
  • 1999–02 – Tom Webster (8)
  • 2002–03 – Tom Webster & Mike Kelly
  • 2003–04 – Steve Smith & Mike Kelly
  • 2004–05 – Mike Kelly
  • 2005–06 – Moe Mantha, Jr., Bill Bowler & D.J. Smith (interim co-coaches)
  • 2006–10 – Bob Boughner
  • 2010–11 – Bob Jones
  • 2011–Present - Bob Boughner

Players[edit]

There have been over 100 alumni of the OHA & OHL Junior A Spitfires who have graduated to play in the National Hockey League. Four of those alumni have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Those are:Glenn Hall, Marcel Pronovost, Terry Sawchuk, and Al Arbour as coach.

Award winners[edit]

NHL alumni[edit]

SOJHL Spitfires 1971–1975
Modern Spitfires 1975–present

Current roster[edit]

Updated October 2, 2014

Goaltenders
Number Player Catches Acquired NHL rights Place of birth
39 Canada Alex Fotinos L Trade Barrie '13 Eligible 2015 Toronto, Ontario
Defencemen
Number Player Shoots Acquired NHL rights Place of birth
2 Canada Patrick Sanvido L 2012 OHL Draft DAL 2014 Guelph, Ontario
3 Canada Liam Murray L 2013 OHL Draft Eligible in 2015 Orleans, Ontario
8 Canada Trevor Murphy L Trade PBO '12 Eligible in 2015 Windsor, Ontario
20 Canada Andrew Burns L 2013 OHL Draft Eligible in 2015 Oakville, Ontario
24 Canada Graeme Brown L 2012 OHL Draft Eligible in 2015 Gananoque, Ontario
Forwards
Number Player Shoots Position Acquired NHL rights Place of birth
16 Canada Patrick Antonacci L C 2011 OHL Draft TOR 2014 Mississauga, Ontario
11 Russia Nikita Yazkov R LW 2013 CHL Import Draft Eligible in 2015 Novokuznetsk, Russia
19 Canada Ryan Foss L C 2012 OHL Draft Eligible 2015 Oakville, Ontario
21 Canada Brody Milne L LW Trade GUE '13 Eligible 2015 Guelph, Ontario
22 United States Sam Povorozniouk R RW Trade KIN 2014 Eligible 2015 Northbrook, Illinois
26 Canada Chris Cobham L LW 2012 OHL Draft Eligible 2015 Guelph, Ontario
40 United States Ryan Moore L C 2013 OHL Draft Eligible 2015 Troy, Michigan
61 Canada Chris Marchese L LW Trade ERI '12 Free Agent Woodbridge, Ontario
66 Canada Josh Ho-Sang R RW 2012 OHL Draft NYI 2014 Thornhill, Ontario
79 Canada Mark Manchurek L LW Tecumseh, Ontario
96 Canada Christiano DiGiacinto L LW Free Agent 2013 TB 2014 Hamilton, Ontario

Note: (OA) = Over Age player, (AP) = Alternate Player

Team records[edit]

Team records for a single season
Statistic Total Season
Most points 115 2008–09
Most wins 57 2008–09
Most goals for 396 1987–88
Least goals for 201 2003–04
Least goals against 171 2008–09
Most goals against 470 1975–76
Least losses/OTL/SL 11 2008–09
Individual player records for a single season
Statistic Player Total Season
Most goals Ernie Godden 87 1980–81
Most assists Bill Bowler 102 1994–95
Most points Ernie Godden 153 1980–81
Most points, rookie Cory Stillman 101 1990–91
Most goals, rookie Taylor Hall 45 2007–08
Most points, defenceman Joel Quenneville 103 1977–78
Most wins, goalie Andrew Engelage 46 2008–09
Best GAA, goalie Andrew Engelage 2.35 2008–09
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played

Season-by-season results[edit]

Regular season[edit]

  • (1975–84, 1989–present) Windsor Spitfires
  • (1984–89) Windsor Compuware Spitfires

Legend: OTL = Overtime loss, SL = Shootout loss

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SL Points Pct % Goals
for
Goals
against
Standing
1971–72 56 21 32 3 - - 45 0.402 220 266 6th SOJAHL
1972–73 60 30 21 9 - - 69 0.575 286 273 3rd SOJAHL
1973–74 62 39 15 8 - - 86 0.694 379 242 1st SOJAHL
1974–75 60 40 15 5 - - 85 0.708 320 207 1st SOJAHL
1975–76 66 12 50 4 - - 28 0.212 251 470 6th Emms
1976–77 66 21 37 8 - - 50 0.379 294 386 5th Emms
1977–78 68 36 24 8 - - 80 0.588 338 289 2nd Emms
1978–79 68 32 35 1 - - 65 0.478 323 322 3rd Emms
1979–80 68 36 31 1 - - 73 0.537 323 344 1st Emms
1980–81 68 33 33 2 - - 68 0.500 322 337 2nd Emms
1981–82 68 22 42 4 - - 48 0.353 269 343 6th Emms
1982–83 70 19 50 1 - - 39 0.279 289 394 6th Emms
1983–84 70 22 46 2 - - 46 0.329 280 379 6th Emms
1984–85 66 28 35 3 - - 59 0.447 267 301 5th Emms
1985–86 66 34 26 6 - - 74 0.561 280 259 3rd Emms
1986–87 66 36 25 5 - - 77 0.583 287 249 3rd Emms
1987–88 66 50 14 2 - - 102 0.773 396 215 1st Emms
1988–89 66 25 37 4 - - 54 0.409 272 321 5th Emms
1989–90 66 17 41 8 - - 42 0.318 233 341 8th Emms
1990–91 66 33 29 4 - - 70 0.530 307 279 4th Emms
1991–92 66 25 33 8 - - 58 0.439 272 316 5th Emms
1992–93 66 19 42 5 - - 43 0.326 240 343 8th Emms
1993–94 66 25 36 5 - - 55 0.417 253 298 7th Emms
1994–95 66 41 22 3 - - 85 0.644 303 232 2nd Western
1995–96 66 21 41 4 - - 46 0.348 256 312 4th Western
1996–97 66 29 29 8 - - 66 0.500 303 285 3rd Western
1997–98 66 19 42 5 - - 43 0.326 261 340 6th Western
1998–99 68 23 39 6 - - 52 0.382 203 294 5th West
1999–2000 68 35 30 2 1 - 73 0.529 213 231 4th West
2000–01 68 34 22 8 4 - 80 0.559 257 221 2nd West
2001–02 68 33 24 6 5 - 77 0.529 253 229 3rd West
2002–03 68 37 25 5 1 - 80 0.581 259 221 3rd West
2003–04 68 27 30 3 8 - 65 0.419 201 219 3rd West
2004–05 68 26 29 6 7 - 65 0.478 223 253 3rd West
2005–06 68 32 29 - 3 4 71 0.522 247 253 3rd West
2006–07 68 18 43 - 2 5 43 0.316 209 311 5th West
2007–08 68 41 15 - 7 5 94 0.691 279 205 2nd West
2008–09 68 57 10 - 0 1 115 0.846 311 171 1st West
2009–10 68 50 12 - 1 5 106 0.779 331 203 1st West
2010–11 68 39 23 - 3 3 84 0.618 280 247 2nd West
2011–12 68 29 32 - 5 2 65 0.478 213 258 4th West
2012–13 68 26 33 - 3 6 61 0.449 212 278 5th West
2013–14 68 37 28 - 3 0 77 0.566 249 235 2nd West

Playoffs[edit]

  • 1971–72 Lost to Chatham Maroons 4 games to 1 in quarter-final.
  • 1972–73 Defeated Niagara Falls Flyers 4 games to 3 in quarter-final.
    Lost to Guelph CMC's 4 games to 0 in semi-final.
  • 1973–74 Defeated Detroit Jr. Red Wings 4 games to 0 in semi-final.
    Defeated Chatham Maroons 4 games to 1 in final. SOJHL CHAMPIONS
    Lost to Wexford Raiders 4 games to 3 in Eastern Centennial Cup quarter-final.
  • 1974–75 Defeated Detroit Jr. Red Wings 4 games to 1 in semi-final.
    Lost to Guelph CMC's 4 games to 3 with 1 tie in final.
  • 1975–76 Out of playoffs.
  • 1976–77 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 3 games to 0 in first round.
    Lost to St. Catharines Fincups 4 games to 2 in quarter-finals.
  • 1977–78 Lost to Hamilton Fincups 9 points to 3 in quarter-finals.
  • 1978–79 Lost to London Knights in a 9 games series in quarter-finals. Series protested and both teams moved on.
    Eliminated in semi-final round-robin vs. Niagara Falls Flyers and London Knights.
  • 1979–80 Defeated Niagara Falls Flyers 4 games to 1 in quarter-finals.
    Defeated Brantford Alexanders 4 games to 3 in semi-finals.
    Lost to Peterborough Petes 4 games to 0 in finals.
  • 1980–81 Defeated Brantford Alexanders 8 points to 4 in division semi-finals.
    Lost to Kitchener Rangers 9 points to 1 in division finals.
  • 1981–82 Defeated Niagara Falls Flyers 6 points to 4 in first round.
    Lost to Kitchener Rangers 8 poins to 0 in quarter-finals.
  • 1982–83 Lost to North Bay Centennials 6 points to 0 in first round.
  • 1983–84 Lost to S.S. Marie Greyhounds 6 points to 0 in first round.
  • 1984–85 Lost to London Knights 8 poins to 0 in first round.
  • 1985–86 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 8 points to 2 in first round.
    Finished quarter-final round robin vs Guelph Platers and North Bay Centennials in second place (4 points).
    Lost to Guelph Platers 8 points to 4 in semi-finals.
  • 1986–87 Defeated S.S. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 0 in first round.
    Defeated Hamilton Steelhawks 4 games to 0 in quarter-finals.
    Lost to North Bay Centennials 4 games to 2 in semi-finals.
  • 1987–88 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 0 in first round.
    Earned bye through quarter-finals. 1st place in Emms division.
    Defeated Hamilton Steelhawks 4 games to 0 in semi-finals.
    Defeated Peterborough Petes 4 games to 0 in finals. OHL CHAMPIONS
    Finished Memorial Cup round-robin in first place, earned berth in finals.
    Lost to Medicine Hat Tigers 7–6 in championship game.
  • 1988–89 Lost to Niagara Falls Thunder 4 games to 0 in first round.
  • 1989–90 Out of playoffs.
  • 1990–91 Defeated London Knights 4 games to 3 in first round.
    Lost to Niagara Falls Thunder 4 games to 0 in quarter-finals.
  • 1991–92 Lost to Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 3 in first round.
  • 1992–93 Out of playoffs.
  • 1993–94 Lost to S.S. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 0 in division quarter-finals.
  • 1994–95 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 0 in division quarter-finals.
    Lost to Sudbury Wolves 4 games to 2 in quarter-finals.
  • 1995–96 Lost to Detroit Whalers 4 games to 3 in division quarter-finals.
  • 1996–97 Lost to Sarnia Sting 4 games to 1 in division quarter-finals.
  • 1997–98 Out of playoffs.
  • 1998–99 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 2–1 in 8th place tiebreaker.
    Lost to Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 1999–2000 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 3 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 1 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2000–01 Defeated Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2001–02 Defeated S.S. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated Guelph Storm 4 games to 1 in conference semi-finals.
    Lost to Erie Otters 4 games to 1 in conference finals.
  • 2002–03 Lost to London Knights 4 games to 3 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2003–04 Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2004–05 Defeated S.S. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 3 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2005–06 Lost to Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 3 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2006–07 Out of playoffs.
  • 2007–08 Lost to Sarnia Sting 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2008–09 Defeated Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 2 in conference semi-finals.
    Defeated London Knights 4 games to 1 in conference finals.
    Defeated Brampton Battalion 4 games to 1 in finals. OHL CHAMPIONS
    Finished Memorial Cup round-robin in fourth place
    Defeated Rimouski Océanic 6–4 in tiebreaker.
    Defeated Drummondville Voltigeurs 3–2 (OT) in semifinal.
    Defeated the Kelowna Rockets 4-1 in the Memorial Cup final. MEMORIAL CUP CHAMPIONS
  • 2009–10 Defeated Erie Otters 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
    Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 3 in conference finals.
    Defeated Barrie Colts 4 games to 0 in finals. OHL CHAMPIONS
    Finished Memorial Cup round-robin in first place.
    Defeated Brandon Wheat Kings 9-1 in the Memorial Cup final. MEMORIAL CUP CHAMPIONS
  • 2010–11 Defeated Erie Otters 4 games to 3 in conference quarter-finals.
    Defeated Saginaw Spirit 4 games to 2 in conference semi-finals.
    Lost to Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 1 in conference finals.
  • 2011–12 Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2012–13 Out of playoffs.
  • 2013–14 Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.

Uniforms and logos[edit]

The new logo features an aggressive, stylized World War II Spitfire fighter plane set against clouds on a red, white and blue shield with the word "Spitfires" emblazoned prominently in the forefront. The logo preserves the team's primary colours of red and blue, but uses richer, more vibrant hues and adds silver and yellow as secondary colours.

The Spitfires worked with the Ontario Hockey League and Reebok - official supplier of uniforms to the OHL - in finalizing the new uniform. The new jerseys sport shoulder patches featuring the vintage Spitfire plane encircled by a gold laurel wreath and containing the number 18 to commemorate former Spitfires captain Mickey Renaud. Both the primary logo and shoulder patch designs were collaborations by Marcello Fontana and Shane Potvin, both senior art directors at Hargreaves Stewart.

The Windsor Spitfires use white jerseys on the road until Christmas and at home in the new year and the red jerseys at home until Christmas and on the road in the new year. The Spitfires briefly used a third jersey featuring a white, red and green colour scheme and an alternate logo featuring an airplane flying in front of the Ambassador Bridge. When the team was also known as the Compuware Spitfires the team's colours were brown and orange, with a logo featuring a Spitfire airplane. The original Spitfires logo featured a maple leaf.

Arena[edit]

The Spitfires play their home games at the WFCU Centre, an arena located on the east end of Windsor. The WFCU Centre played host to its first Spitfires game on December 11, 2008 against the Belleville Bulls.[53] The Spitfires lost the game 4-0, which also broke a string of 12 home wins the Spitfires had amassed so far that season.

The Spitfires previously played at Windsor Arena, built in 1924 in downtown Windsor, Ontario. The arena was originally known as the "Border Cities Arena" and was once home to the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL prior to 1927. The Windsor Arena, nicknamed "The Barn," was the oldest operating facility in the Canadian Hockey League. It hosted the OHL All-Star game in 1978, and the Memorial Cup in 1981. On December 4, 2008, the Windsor Spitfires played their last game at "The Barn" against the Guelph Storm, winning 2-1.[54][55]

Broadcasters[edit]

CKLW is the current flagship radio station of the Spitfires. It had been a longtime broadcaster of the Spitfires, but dropped the team in the 2002-03 season. After two seasons without a radio broadcaster at all, CKUE-FM picked up the Spitfires for the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons, before the team returned to CKLW beginning in the 2006-07 season.[56] Games on CKLW are commentated by Steve Bell and Dave Quinn.

On television, Spitfires games are broadcast by TVCogeco, a community channel carried on Cogeco's cable system in Windsor. Domenic Papa previously hosted and provided colour commentary for Spitfires games, alongside Bill Kelso on play-by-play and Brian Trenholm with analysis. However, in August 2012, TVCogeco announced, with a desire to introduce new voices to the channel as part of its goals, that the long-time crew were released from their positions at Cogeco and would be replaced for the 2012-13 season.[57] The move to fire the Spitfires' long-time broadcast team was met with backlash and protests from Spitfires fans and other members of Windsor's sports community, who felt that they had been unfairly treated by the broadcaster for their years of service. The controversy most prominently surrounded the firing of Domenic Papa, who had covered the Spitfires and other local sporting events for 26 years.[58] The new team for the 2012-13 season consists of host Angelo Aversa, CKSY-FM morning show and former London Knights studio host Chris McLeod on play-by-play, and former Spitfires player Todd Warriner on colour.[59]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.windsorspitfires.com/news_releases_item.php?id=513
  2. ^ a b c Simcoe Reformer. February 11, 1975, Page 4.
  3. ^ Alan Halberstadt (October 2, 1971), CMCs shoot down Spitfires in SOHA junior bow, 11-3, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 23–24 
  4. ^ Alan Halberstadt (October 8, 1971), Thanks to Mio, It's a happy Spit return, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 31–32 
  5. ^ It's Spitfires vs. Maroons, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario), February 21, 1972: 20 
  6. ^ Alan Halberstadt (February 24, 1972), Spits steal opener, 3-2, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 33 
  7. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 1, 1972), Maroons finish battling Spits, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 30 
  8. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 6, 1973), Spits explode, remain in hunt, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 22 
  9. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 7, 1973), Spits grow up as a team, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 53 
  10. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 9, 1973), Spitfires make it all the way back, 6-3, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 24 
  11. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 14, 1973), Frantic Spits go down fighting, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 65 
  12. ^ a b Alan Halberstadt (April 13, 1974), Mitchell, Miller big winners, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 22 
  13. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 7, 1974), Spits reach final for first time, 7-5, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 35 
  14. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 19, 1974), Maxner: Armstrong gave us a break, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 22 
  15. ^ Alan Halberstadt (March 22, 1974), Armstrong stirs Spits to first title, 4-3, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 23 
  16. ^ Alan Halberstadt (April 6, 1974), All over for Spitfires, 6-3, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 37 
  17. ^ Windsor major A bid rejected, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario), March 19, 1974: 22 
  18. ^ Dave Hall (February 17, 1975), Tavella, St. Cyr winners, anyway, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 22 
  19. ^ Dave Hall (March 24, 1975), Spits face sudden-death tonight, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 22 
  20. ^ Dave Hall (March 25, 1975), Bilts spoil Spitfires' dream, 6-5, Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario): 30 
  21. ^ Windsor given berth in OHA, Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario), February 10, 1975: 17 
  22. ^ Marty Knack (September 26, 1975), Spits get early initiation, 10-1., Windsor Star: 26 
  23. ^ Marty Knack (October 3, 1975), Perras caps remarkable ending to give Spitfires 11-10 triumph, Windsor Star: 24 
  24. ^ http://flames.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=353955
  25. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/sports/Spitfires+remember+Renaud/1599932/story.html
  26. ^ Windsor Spitfires captain Mickey Renaud dead at 19 - Hockey - CBC
  27. ^ a b Mickey Renaud Way named
  28. ^ Ontario Hockey Association | ONTARIO HOCKEY ASSOCIATION | Pointstreak Sites
  29. ^ http://ontariohockeyleague.com/ontario-hockey-league-to-present-annual-award-in-honour-of-mickey-renaud-p127548
  30. ^ a b http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/bob-boughner-named-ohl-coach-of-the-year-p128150
  31. ^ a b King: CHL news and notes - Sportsnet.ca
  32. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/sports/notes/1253934/story.html
  33. ^ http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/engelage-sets-record-for-most-wins-in-a-single-season-p127819
  34. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/news/windsor/Spitfires+sweep+Attack/1427932/story.html
  35. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/travel/canada/Series+breaks+Plymouth+jinx/1488676/story.html
  36. ^ Spitfires win series with OT heroics | Barrie Examiner
  37. ^ http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/Junior/2009/05/08/9402156-cp.html Taylor Hall scores in overtime as Windsor beats Brampton to claim OHL crown
  38. ^ Opinion - Blogs - Our blogs have moved!
  39. ^ Windsor Mayor Francis Gives Spitfires Key to the City of Windsor - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News
  40. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/Spitfires+Tuesday+after+loss+Rimouski/1605665/story.html
  41. ^ Spitfires stay alive at Memorial Cup with 2-1 win over Rockets - NHL.com - News
  42. ^ Mitchell's natural hat trick sinks Oceanic - Hockey - CBC
  43. ^ http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=1621948
  44. ^ http://www.calgaryherald.com/Spitfires+flying+course+toward+history/1625616/story.html
  45. ^ http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Historic+Memorial+Spitfires/1627908/story.html
  46. ^ http://mastercardmemorialcup.com/news.php?id=1152&y=2009
  47. ^ a b Spitfires win in memory of Renaud
  48. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/Windsor+Spitfires+carpet+welcome+from+frenzied+fans/1629063/story.html
  49. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/City+names+WFCU+Centre+thoroughfare+Memorial+Drive/1629477/story.html
  50. ^ OHL penalizes Spitfires for violating recruitment rules
  51. ^ OHL fines Spitfires $400,000 and strips club of five draft picks | Windsor Star
  52. ^ Spits top Spirit 6-5 at Comerica Park | Windsor Star
  53. ^ http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/news/?sub=&id=2419
  54. ^ Spits close Barn door
  55. ^ InPlay Magazine: Photos
  56. ^ "CKLW to air Spitfires games". The Windsor Star. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  57. ^ "Cogeco drops Spitfires TV crew". The Windsor Star. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  58. ^ "Protest greets Cogeco firings". The Windsor Star. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  59. ^ "Cogeco unveils TV crew for Spits". The Windsor Star. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 

External links[edit]