The Saginaw Spirit announced today that 18 year-old defensive enforcer Chase Stewart has left the team for “personal reasons (in order) to pursue other non-hockey related opportunities,” according to an email released by the team earlier this afternoon.
Stewart, a 6-foot-2-inch, 225 lb defenseman from Thunder Bay, ON was selected in the tenth round (188 overall) of the 2013 OHL priority selection draft by the Spirit.
After failing to make the final roster cut at his first Spirit training camp, Stewart chose to play for the Thunder Bay North Stars of the Superior International Hockey League for the 2013-14 season.. Following two more months with the North Stars after his second Spirit training camp, he was finally called up to the OHL after the Spirit traded defenseman Brandon Prophet to the Barrie Colts in November of the 2014-15 season.
He finished last season with 4-assists and 51 penalty minutes through 48 games. This year he had 1 goal and 4-assists and 44 penalty minutes through 45 games.
Stewart -who is also quick with his fists- was known as a stay-at-home defenseman who used his size to benefit his physical style of play, something the Spirit could really miss when the playoffs start next month.
The team ended the press release by thanking Stewart for his contributions both on and off the ice in the Great Lakes Bay Region, while wishing him the best of luck in his future endeavors.