From Roofing Houses to Coaching Hockey, the Spirit’s Todd Watson Has Seen It All

Posted In: Sports, Local Sports, Saginaw Spirit,   From Issue 712   By: Mike Thompson

07th October, 2010     0

Todd Watson, Saginaw Spirit coach and general manager, could not have expected as a young adult 20 years ago that he would end up with a career in hockey.

He was running his own construction company, repairing roofs near his hometown of Southgate, in Detroit’s downriver area.

Then he started assistant coaching in the Detoit Compuware and Plymouth Whalers youth hockey system, finding time because his ownership of the construction enterprise allowed him to set his own hours.

“I played hockey my whole life,” Watson says. “I like helping the kid, I think you can make a difference at this age level with a kid, on and off the ice.”

His playing career was at Southgate Aquinas High School and the University of Michigan at Dearborn.

“You can study the same, just from the different approaches you observe from the coaches you have,” he says, explaining how he has prepared for this craft.

His work impressed Spirit owners Dick Garber and Craig Goslin, who were looking for stability after multiple coaching and management during the franchise’s formative years in the Ontario Hockey League

You may not find a whole lot of hockey coaches who possess bachelor’s degrees in education, but Watson indeed possesses a teaching certificate.

“We have emphasized looking for good kids off the ice, kids that do well in school, as well as obviously good players on the ice,” Watson says.

Saginaw has posted winning records and made the OHL playoffs during each of his first three seasons.

“We feel like we have good players in Saginaw and that we’ve put a stamp on the program,” Watson says. “Now we have to win.”

If serving as a hockey coach and general manager didn’t work out, Watson could always return to construction or teaching.

But his faith in Saginaw is measured in the fact that his family lives here and makes the community their home. His four children with wife Nicole are Emily, 11; Joseph, 10; Allison, 9; and Michael, 8.

Watson doesn’t profess to offer any some of special coaching style or secrets.

“We just want to be the hardest working team in the league. We look to go play in a collective style,” he says.

CORRECTION: Spirit school age players are enrolled at Heritage High School. A Sept. 27 season preview was incorrect.

SPIRIT SCHEDULE: The Spirit opened the season with a rugged schedule of road games, but the team showed great promise in winning four of the first five games, with only two at home. They beat Sudbury at TheDow, 4-1, and also thumped Sault Ste. Marie at home, 5-2.

Coach Watson, in his typical cautious and conservative style, said only that the team is improving with each game. New goalie Mavric Parks has received solid scoring support from Vince Trocheck, Brandan Saad, Michael Scarbossa, Ivan Telegin and Jordan Szwarz and Josh Shalla, among others.

Upcoming home games at at 7:11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 against Guelph; Friday, Oct. 22 against Mississauga; Saturday, Oct. 23; and Wednesday, Oct. 27 against Sarnia.

SPIRIT ON CABLE:  Here the cable television public access schedule for Spirit replays: Sundays, 1 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Cable Channel 5 (Saginaw/Bay City), Channel 25 (Midland, Mt. Pleasant).  Mondays, 8 p.m., Channel 5 (Saginaw/Bay City), Channel 25 (Midland, Mt. Pleasant). Tuesdays, 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., Charter Extra Channel 87. Wednesdays, 8 p.m.,Channel 5 (Saginaw/Bay City), Channel 25 (Midland, Mt. Pleasant). Thursdays, 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., Charter Extra Channel 87. Saturdays, 9 p.m., Charter Extra Channel 87.

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