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Saginaw Spirit

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Saginaw Spirit
City: Saginaw, Michigan
League: Ontario Hockey League
Conference: Western
Division: West
Founded: 2002 (2002)–03
Home Arena: The Dow Event Center
Colours: Midnight blue, red, silver, white and yellow
Head Coach: Greg Gilbert
General Manager: Dave Drinkill
Affiliate(s): Leamington Flyers
Franchise history
1943–47: St. Catharines Falcons
1947–62: St. Catharines Teepees
1962–76: St. Catharines Black Hawks
1976–82: Niagara Falls Flyers
1982–02: North Bay Centennials
2002–: Saginaw Spirit

Wendler arena pregame

Pregame Warm-up at Wendler Arena. February 7th, 2003.

The Saginaw Spirit is a 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 leagues of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).


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, renaming it the Saginaw Spirit.

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.

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. 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]


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. In total, there have been four coaches in Saginaw Spirit history to date.

List of coaches. Numbers of seasons in parentheses.


See complete list of all List of Saginaw Spirit alumni.

Award winnersEdit

NHL alumniEdit

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 recordsEdit

Team records for a single season
Most points912006–07
Most wins442006–07
Most goals for2912006–07
Least goals for1502004–05
Least goals against2072010–11
Most goals against2752002–03
Individual player records for a single season
Most goalsRyan McDonough472010-11
Most assistsJordan Skellett622009–10
Most pointsJack Combs1002007–08
Most points, rookieJan Mursak802006–07
Most points, defensemanPatrick McNeill772006–07
Best GAA, goalieRyan Daniels2.942006–07
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played

Season-by-season resultsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Legend: OTL = Overtime loss, SL = Shootout loss

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SL Points Pct % Goals
2002–03 681145 5 7 340.2501582755th West
2003–04 681645 3 4 390.2871612285th West
2004–05 681842 4 4 440.3241502604th West
2005–06 683630 2 0 740.5442422462nd West
2006–07 684421 0 3 910.6692912172nd West
2007–08 683325 8 2 760.5592342314th West
2008–09 683624 4 4 800.5882352192nd West
2009–10 683427 4 3 750.5512402304th West
2010–11 684022 4 2 860.6322432071st West
2011–12 683327 1 7 740.5442592593rd West
2012–13 683229 4 3 710.5222502644th West
2013–14 683330 4 1 710.5222542483rd West
2014–15 682936 2 1 610.4492122713rd West


  • 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.

Uniforms and logosEdit

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.


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 has 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.[6]


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.

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

Mid Michigan Spirit Edit

The Saginaw Spirit in partnership with Meijer food stores sponsor the Mid Michigan Spirit, a women's hockey club based out of 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.


  2. Saginaw Spirit: OHL Doubleheader Outdoor Game
  3. Ontario Hockey League: OHL set for Hockeytown Winter Festival
  4. Windsor Spitfires beat Saginaw Spirit in first outdoor game in OHL history
  5. Spirit on the Colbert Report Tonight. Saginaw Spirit (2006-10-03). Retrieved on 2007-02-01.
  6. Sunaya Sapurji (2007-02-01). The Steagle has landed. Toronto Star. Retrieved on 2007-02-01.

External linksEdit

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Saginaw Spirit. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

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