At a press conference inside the Dow Event Center this afternoon, Saginaw Spirit GM Dave Drinkill announced the signing of 2016 fourth round pick (64 overall) Jake Goldowski
to an OHL standard player agreement.
Similar to Cole Coskey (University of Miami Ohio) a few years ago, and Blade Jenkins (University of Michigan) earlier this year, Goldowski rescinded an offer to play NCAA hockey at Penn State University in order to pursue his NHL dream via the Ontario Hockey League, which has Drinkill feeling positiive about the future of Spirit hockey.
“I'm happy for the organization; for Dick Garber, Craig Goslin, Brandon Bordeaux, Jim Devallano, Chris Osgood, and the city of Saginaw,” Drinkill said. “The fact that these players are choosing to come here now. They see our development on the hockey side, and off the ice, and what we do with these young men is huge. I think it's huge for the franchise, it's huge for the city and I'm very proud we were able to bring Jake here today.”
As one of the top 2001-born hockey players in America, Goldowski, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-shooting forward from Thornhurst, PA spent last year and part of this season playing in the United States National Team Development Program in Plymouth, MI before deciding to follow his NHL path through the OHL, and he now feels content doing that in a Spirit sweater.
“This is a big step in my development,” Goldowski said. “This feels like the right place for me, and I'm glad I got the opportunity.”
He received some encouraging words from his once former (and now current) teammate, Jenkins, who is also a good friend.
“I talked to Blade (Jenkins) he's a great friend of mine,” Goldowski said of coming to Saginaw. “He's been really good about everything and he's excited that I'm here. He really helped through these past couple of years, so it's been good.”
Goldowski becomes the eighth U.S. player on Saginaw's roster,
and he's also the fifth player from Pennsylvania in Spirit history. Vincent Trochek (currently with the Florida Panthers), Brandon Saad (currently with the Chicago Blackhawks), and Tyler Murovich (Atlanta Gladiators, ECHL) are all from the Pittsburgh area, while Jimmy Lodge (a third round pick, 84 overall, of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2013 NHL draft) is from Downingtown, PA near Philly.
With his eighteenth birthday coming up this May, Goldowski is eligible for the 2018 NHL draft the following month at the end of June, where he'll be looking to become the fourth Spirit player from Pennsylvania to hear his name called on draft day.
Growing up, Goldowski played for the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Knights' Triple-A program, before joining the USNTDP last year where he had 26-points (10-goals, 16-assists) and 30-penalty minutes for the 2016-17 season.
The physical winger, who can also put the puck in the net, could not have picked a better time to sign with the Spirit, as injuries have recently plagued this Saginaw team.
The Spirit will be without its top scorer, Coskey for awhile, after he took a puck to the knee last night, while rookie forward Nicholas Porco is also making his way through the concussion protocol.
Spirit defenseman Brock Hill went down with a shoulder injury a few games back, and fellow blue liner Caleb Everett left last night's game with an undisclosed injury and never returned.
Goldowski plans to get in a couple of light skates with his new teammates before donning his No. 42 Spirit sweater (his dads old football number) when the Spirit host the CHL's top ranked team, the Sarnia Sting (21-5-1-0) tomorrow night for a 7:05 pm face off at the Dow Event Center.