Saginaw Spirit president and managing partner Craig Goslin, in conjunction with the Ontario Hockey League announced the schedule for the upcoming 2017-18 OHL season (the Spirit's 16th season in Saginaw) in a press release this afternoon.
Goslin thanked fellow managing partner (former Detroit Red Wings GM) Jimmy Devellano for working closely with him in developing the 2017-18 Spirit schedule.
“I wish to thank Spirit partner Jim Devellano for his input and counsel on building this season's game schedule,” Goslin said. “This is an excellent schedule for Saginaw in many ways. We are very excited about this year's version of the Saginaw Spirit and wish to invite the entire Great Lakes Bay Region to come be part of the action and Catch the 2017-18 Spirit!”
The Western Conference of the OHL has become the most competitive conference in the entire Canadian Hockey League with both the Windsor Spitfires and the Erie Otters making it to the Memorial Cup finals this year.
The Spirit open the 2017-18 season with a 7:05 pm road game on Thur. Sep. 21, against defending Memorial Cup champions the Windsor Spitfires at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.
The Spirit will return to host the London Knights at 7:05 pm on Saturday Sep. 23, for the 2017-18 home opener at the Dow Event Center.
The Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup Series kicks off at 7:05 pm on Wed. Nov. 1, at the Dow Event Center against in-state rivals the Flint Firebirds for the first of three meetings in the month of November (the first of eight meetings with the Firebirds throughout the year). Five of the eight games against Flint are on a Friday this year.
Despite being the best hockey players in the world for their age, OHL players are still 16 to 20 year old student athletes, so the teams try to minimize the weeks when there are three games in three days in order to give the players enough time for homework and rest on Sunday night's and still be ready for class on Monday mornings. The Spirit only have three of those weeks this year.
In years past there has also been conflicts between the Lions' 1 pm Sunday football games and the 2 pm Sunday Spirit games. So, this year Goslin adjusted the schedule, adding seven late afternoon Sunday games in order to allow fans to watch the Lions and still have time to make it to the 5:30 pm Sunday Spirit games.
“We tried to do our best to make the 2017-18 Saginaw Spirit schedule as player and fan friendly as possible, while at the same time reducing our three-games in three-nights scenario's down to three,” Goslin said. “We are presenting to our fans, 18 Saturday night home games, as well as hosting seven Sunday late afternoon/early evening home games at 5:30 pm. The 5:30 pm Sunday start time allows our players ample time to rest and recuperate from the multiple home and away Saturday night games and also allows Spirit fans enough time to watch the 1 pm Detroit Lions games and have enough time to travel to the Dow Event Center to watch the Spirit.”
The Spirit will play a total of 68 games, with 34 home games and another 34 games on the road during the 2017-18 OHL season.