Ask any hockey fan about the Saginaw Spirit and they will most likely sing praises about the team’s remarkable performance in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). But what many don’t know is that the Spirit is a powerhouse not just on the ice, but also in their farm system.
The Saginaw Spirit is a major junior ice hockey team based in the city of Saginaw, Michigan. Since joining the OHL in 2002, the Spirit has consistently produced top-notch talent that has gone on to play in the National Hockey League (NHL) and other professional leagues around the world. And with the success of their farm system, it’s safe to say that the future of the Spirit looks bright.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how the Saginaw Spirit’s farm system is developing future talent not just for their team, but for the entire hockey world.
The History of the Saginaw Spirit
Founded in 2002, the Saginaw Spirit’s journey in the OHL has been nothing short of remarkable. In their early years, the team struggled to make it to the playoffs and had difficulty attracting top prospects. But things changed when Craig Goslin took over as team president in 2006.
Goslin spearheaded the Spirit’s transformation into a competitive team by investing in building a strong scouting system and a state-of-the-art training facility. The changes paid off when the Spirit made it to the playoffs for the first time in 2008, a feat they have achieved every season since then.
In 2017, the Ottawa Senators owner, Eugene Melnyk, purchased the Saginaw Spirit and has since continued to invest in the team’s success. With a strong leadership team and investment in the team’s development, it’s no wonder the Spirit has become a breeding ground for top prospects.
The Saginaw Spirit’s Farm System
The Saginaw Spirit’s farm system is unlike any other in the OHL. Led by General Manager Dave Drinkill, the team’s scouting and development program has produced several top prospects, many of whom have gone on to play in the NHL.
One of the most notable players to come out of the Saginaw Spirit’s farm system is Tye Felhaber. Felhaber, who was a seventh-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft, made headlines when he scored 59 goals in the 2018-2019 OHL season, the most of any player that year. He now plays for the Dallas Stars in the NHL.
But it’s not just about producing top players, the Saginaw Spirit also focuses on developing all-around athletes. The team’s player development camp is designed to enhance players’ hockey skills, but also focuses on mental and physical conditioning, nutrition, and sportsmanship.
The training doesn’t stop there, as the Saginaw Spirit also has a comprehensive mentorship program for their players to guide them on and off the ice. This has helped players like Damien Giroux, a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft, who now serves as the captain for the Minnesota Wild’s minor league team.
The Future Looks Bright
With a strong farm system in place, the future of the Saginaw Spirit is looking bright. The team’s success in producing top-notch talent has also made them an attractive destination for young players looking to advance their careers in the OHL.
This can be seen in the recent years where the Spirit has been able to attract top prospects such as Cole Coskey, Cole Perfetti, and Blade Jenkins. These players have not only helped the team’s success on the ice, but also their growing reputation as a top development team.
In addition to producing talent for the OHL, the Saginaw Spirit’s farm system also has a global reach. Players from around the world, including countries like Russia, Finland, and Switzerland, have come to play for the Spirit and have gone on to represent their countries in international tournaments.
Join the Conversation
The Saginaw Spirit may be based in Michigan, but their impact is felt by hockey fans all around the world. From the rising success of their farm system to their achievements on the ice, the Spirit is a team that deserves recognition and admiration.
So why not join the conversation and share your thoughts on the Saginaw Spirit and their farm system? Head over to the Minor Hockey Talk forum and discuss everything about hockey in Canada and the USA. Let’s keep the conversation going!