Saginaw Spirit

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Saginaw Spirit
Saginaw Spirit Logo.svg
City Saginaw, Michigan
League Ontario Hockey League
Conference Western
Division West
Founded 2002–03
Home arena Dow Event Center
Colors Midnight blue, red, silver, white and yellow
                        
General manager Dave Drinkill
Head coach Troy Smith
Affiliate(s) Leamington Flyers
Website saginawspirit.com
Franchise history
1943–1947 St. Catharines Falcons
1947–1962 St. Catharines Teepees
1962–1976 St. Catharines Black Hawks
1976–1982 Niagara Falls Flyers
1982–2002 North Bay Centennials
2002–present Saginaw Spirit
Pregame Warm-up at Wendler Arena. February 7th, 2003.

The Saginaw Spirit is a major junior ice hockey team based in Saginaw, Michigan. They are members of the West Division of the Western Conference of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), one of the Major Junior leagues of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

History[edit]

The Saginaw Spirit were born when Dick Garber, the owner of several local automobile dealerships, purchased the North Bay Centennials and moved the team to Saginaw after the 2001–02 season. Saginaw Spirit was named by an elementary school student attending Handley Elementary - a school for the gifted and talented - after a contest was held to name the new coming team.

The team traces its roots back to St. Catharines, Ontario, where it played as the Falcons, Teepees, and Black Hawks from 1943–1976. It won two Memorial Cup championships as the Teepees, in 1954 and 1960. In 1976, the franchise moved to nearby Niagara Falls, where it was known as the Flyers. In 1982, the team was moved again, this time to North Bay, and renamed the Centennials, where it remained until moving to Saginaw in 2002.

The Spirit have done extensive promotions in the Mid-Michigan area, increasing their fan base and season ticket-holder numbers. The Spirit have one of the highest attendance rates in the Ontario Hockey League.[citation needed]

After three rebuilding seasons the Spirit clinched their first playoff berth on March 2, 2006, but lost in the first round to the Guelph Storm. Led by Todd Watson, they made the playoffs the following two seasons, but lost to the division rival Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds both times, in six games in 2007 and in four games in 2008. In 2009, the Spirit won their first playoff series since relocating to Saginaw, sweeping Guelph in four games. They were then swept in the second round by the London Knights.

On December 29, 2013, the Spirit and the Windsor Spitfires 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.[1][2][3][4]

Coaches[edit]

The first coach in Saginaw Spirit history was Dennis Desrosiers. He was well known to local fans, with many years of hockey experience in Michigan. As a player, he spent 10 years for the Saginaw Gears (IHL), and spent time coaching the Flint Generals, Saginaw Generals & Kalamazoo Wings all in Michigan.

List of coaches. Numbers of seasons in parentheses.

Players[edit]

Award winners[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

NHL alumni[edit]

Since 2002 the Saginaw Spirit have graduated sixteen players who have played in the National Hockey League.

  • Italics denotes current NHL player
  • Bold denotes player who has won the Stanley Cup

Team records[edit]

Team records for a single season
Statistic Total Season
Most points 91 2006–07
Most wins 44 2006–07
Most goals for 291 2006–07
Least goals for 150 2004–05
Least goals against 207 2010-11
Most goals against 282 2015-16
Individual player records for a single season
Statistic Player Total Season
Most goals Josh Shalla 47 2010-11
Most assists Jordan Skellett 62 2009–10
Most points Jack Combs 100 2007–08
Most points, rookie Jan Mursak 80 2006–07
Most points, defenseman Patrick McNeill 77 2006–07
Best GAA, goalie Ryan Daniels 2.94 2006–07
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played

Season-by-season results[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Legend: OTL = Overtime loss, SL = Shootout loss

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SL Points Pct % Goals
For
Goals
Against
Standing
2002–03 68 11 45 5 7 34 0.250 158 275 5th West
2003–04 68 16 45 3 4 39 0.287 161 228 5th West
2004–05 68 18 42 4 4 44 0.324 150 260 4th West
2005–06 68 36 30 2 0 74 0.544 242 246 2nd West
2006–07 68 44 21 0 3 91 0.669 291 217 2nd West
2007–08 68 33 25 8 2 76 0.559 234 231 4th West
2008–09 68 36 24 4 4 80 0.588 235 219 2nd West
2009–10 68 34 27 4 3 75 0.551 240 230 4th West
2010–11 68 40 22 4 2 86 0.632 243 207 1st West
2011–12 68 33 27 1 7 74 0.544 259 259 3rd West
2012–13 68 32 29 4 3 71 0.522 250 264 4th West
2013–14 68 33 30 4 1 71 0.522 254 248 3rd West
2014–15 68 29 36 2 1 61 0.449 212 271 3rd West
2015–16 68 24 37 4 3 55 0.404 209 282 4th West
2016–17 68 27 32 7 2 63 0.463 204 248 5th West
2017–18 68 29 30 9 0 67 0.493 196 238 4th West

Playoffs[edit]

  • 2002–03 Out of playoffs.
  • 2003–04 Out of playoffs.
  • 2004–05 Out of playoffs.
  • 2005–06 Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2006–07 Lost to Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2007–08 Lost to Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2008–09 Defeated Guelph Storm 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2009–10 Lost to Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2010–11 Defeated Guelph Storm 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 2 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2011–12 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
    Lost to London Knights 4 games to 2 in conference semi-finals.
  • 2012–13 Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2013–14 Lost to Erie Otters 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2014–15 Lost to Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2015–16 Lost to Erie Otters 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2016–17 Out of playoffs.
  • 2017–18 Lost to Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.

Uniforms and logos[edit]

The Saginaw Spirit logo depicts an American bald eagle with the colors of the Stars and Stripes along its neck, on the words "Saginaw Spirit." The uniform scheme is similar to that previously used by the U.S.A. national team. The home jerseys are white backgrounds with navy blue sleeves and red trim. The away jerseys are navy blue backgrounds with red sleeves and white trim. The Saginaw third jersey has a red background with navy blue sleeves and white trim, bearing across the chest the word "Saginaw" spelled diagonally downwards from left to right.

Mascots[edit]

Saginaw's main mascot is "Sammy Spirit," resembling an American bald eagle. The team held a vote on their website to name a new secondary mascot for the 2006–07 season. The mascot was named[5] Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle after Stephen Colbert. Colbert had promoted the contest on his show, The Colbert Report. After naming the mascot after Colbert, the Spirit won seven straight games before losing to the Sarnia Sting on October 20. Since then, The Colbert Report had featured ongoing comedy sketches related to the team, the mascot, and other teams in the Ontario Hockey League, especially the Oshawa Generals, and Oshawa, Ontario mayor John Gray. At one game, fans of the Spirits threw copies of [General Motors]'s annual report, a reference to the fact that GM, the Generals sponsor, had poor earnings at the time. As a result of losing the game, the mayor of Oshawa created Stephen Colbert day.[6]

Arena[edit]

The Spirit play at Wendler Arena (capacity 5,527), which is part of The Dow Event Center complex in downtown Saginaw. The OHL All-Star Classic was hosted here in 2007. This was the first time in history that the OHL All-Star Game was hosted in an American city. The Arena was formerly home to the Saginaw Gears, Saginaw Generals, Saginaw Hawks, Saginaw Wheels and the Saginaw Lumber Kings. The general manager is local high school hockey legend Matt Blasy.

Capacity = 5,527
Ice size = 192' x 85'

Mid Michigan Spirit[edit]

Saginaw Spirit team bus, as of in October 2011

The Saginaw Spirit in partnership with Meijer food stores sponsor the Mid Michigan Spirit, a women's hockey club based in Midland, Michigan. The 16U team took second at the MAHA state tournament during the 2006-2007 season. A 16U team moved up to 19U for the 2007-2008 season and once again took second at the MAHA state tournament in Canton, Michigan on March 9, 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parker, Jeff (December 29, 2013). "Spits top Spirit 6-5 at Comerica Park". Windsor Star. Postmedia. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  2. ^ "OHL Doubleheader Outdoor Game". Saginaw Spirit. Canadian Hockey League. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "OHL set for Hockeytown Winter Festival". Ontario Hockey League. Canadian Hockey League. June 6, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Masisak, Corey (December 29, 2013). "Windsor tops Saginaw in first outdoor game". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  5. ^ "Spirit on the Colbert Report Tonight". Saginaw Spirit. October 3, 2006. Archived from the original on February 9, 2007.
  6. ^ http://www.cc.com/video-clips/z0b9vz/the-colbert-report-stephen-colbert-day

External links[edit]