Story by Charlie Crowley, Sports Intern
Photo Courtesy of Saginaw Spirit
So far this year in The Saint, we’ve covered all different types of hockey here in the Mitten. We have had the usual posts on the Red Wings and the Griffins, the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL, and for you online readers, you may have learned about the Flint fiasco. Flint has another counterpart in their league here in Michigan with the Saginaw Spirit.
The Spirit are a major junior team in the Ontario Hockey League, one of three major junior leagues in the Canadian Hockey League. The three leagues, which include the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League, are similar to the United States Hockey League; their goal is to develop players ages 16 to 20 into elite hockey players. However, the CHL pays its players, meaning that any NCAA eligibility is stripped upon signing a contract. Players such as Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, and Red Wings prospects Anthony Mantha and Mitch Callahan spent their younger years in the CHL.
Saginaw is off to an okay start this year, currently sitting fifth in the west division at 8-13-1-1. The Spirit are in a division with Windsor and Sarnia, both of whom consistently have strong teams, and also with the Soo Greyhounds and instate rival Flint. The 2015 roster has only seven players who did not play for Saginaw last year, which will help them mesh and build chemistry from last year. The team brought in some veteran experience with overager Dylan Petschenig, who won the Memorial Cup with Oshawa last year. In terms of firepower, the team is relying on Dylan Sadowy, a San Jose draft pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Coming off a career year last season, Sadowy is already averaging over a point per game with 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 19 games. Sadowy has received help up front from Connor Brown (8 goals, 7 assists) and foreign import Artem Artemov (7 goals, 10 assists). Goaltending has been anchored by Evan Cormier, who sits at 6-8 with a .886 save percentage and 3.86 goals against average.
As the season goes on and the team begins to really hit the bulk of their schedule, the Spirit will be tested to see if they can rise to the top of the division. Nevertheless, keep an eye out for current Spirit players to make the NHL in the next few years.
About the writer…
Charlie Crowley is a junior studying communication and journalism.He is The Saint‘s Sports Intern and future Sports Editor. He spends most of his time playing hockey, sleeping, eating, and on Reddit. He’s also a Hoosier, and proud of it, but can’t hit the open three to save his life.