The New \'SPIRIT\' of Saginaw

Up Close & Personal with the Front Line Defense of The Saginaw Spirit

Posted In: Sports, Local Sports, Saginaw Spirit,   From Issue 667   By: Robert E Martin

04th September, 2008     0

Apart from signaling the season of transition, September marks the month that blades dig into ice and the pucks start flying as the start of hockey brings fans and enthusiasts flooding to the DowEvent Center for the official kick-off of the 2008 Saginaw Spirit hockey season.

Ever since committed Saginaw entrepreneur & visionary Dick Garber gave birth to the Spirit back in 2002, after three rebuilding seasons, the Saginaw Spirit clinched their first playoff berth on March 2006, and since their inception have increased their fan base and season ticket-holder numbers to a point where they have one of the highest attendance rates in the Ontario Hockey League.

While many people believe hockey is a game for die-hard fans, filled with player allegiances & attributes, peppered with game averages & statistics spraying like shaven shards of ice over their comprehension of the game - they couldn't be further from the truth; for in reality, OHL Hockey is a pure source of entertainment, fueled by the poetry of players who's artistry is as distinct as the synchronized team-effort of a symphony orchestra.

Only with hockey, the individual players might have a tendency to go toe-to-toe with the brass section a little more frequently if they aren't hitting their goal.

But the point is the same: building excitement & enthusiasm within one's community by collectively striving to reach new heights of achievement.

Besides, you can't beat a hockey game for a heart-thumping good time.

Front Line Defense
(Behind the Face Guards)

T.J Brodie, Adam Comrie and Nick Crawford ring clear as a percussive triangle of front-line defense for the Saginaw Spirit. 

T.J. was drafted to the Spirit in 2006 out of Dresden, Ontario; Adam came on-board the same year out of Kanata, Ontario, and Nick joined the team out of Calendon, Ontario.

With a camaraderie linked by collective roots to Canada, and all still in their late teens, one might think of them as local rock stars, except for the fact that each possesses a low-key modesty and focus towards teamwork that frankly, lifts them above the ego-driven world of pop music.
Indeed, their backgrounds are remarkable similar to that of The Beatles coming out of a small little fishing town in Liverpool, only to hone their chops in Hamburg (if you think of a hockey stick as an instrument and Hamilton Street as the Reeperbahn in 1962).

T.J., Adam and Nick all started playing hockey when they were all of three-to-five years old and fell in love with it from day one.

"My Dad was a defenseman and the day he first put me on the ice I never stopped playing," explains Nick, a sentiment echoed by T.J. and Adam.

"When I first got into hockey I kept playing because I liked it so much and with my first full year completed last year, I'm ready for the new season," notes T.J.

"For me, getting into hockey at such a young age, I never thought about playing anything else because I had so much fun with it. Nothing caught my eye like hockey, but with the long winters, I grew up with it," states Adam.

All three of this dynamic trio have played on different teams during the course of their young careers and moved around, except for Adam, who spent some time living in Virginia. "There's not too much hockey going on there," he smiles, "so whatever team was the best out there, I would go join forces with."

With a fresh season starting, what is it about the Spirit that distinguishes it from other teams in the league?

"They're just great guys," answers T.J. "Everyone on the team is very close and we all get along with one another. It's an organized unit."

"It's a really young group of guys that get along well," states Adam. "Plus there is great ownership that takes an avid interest in the game and wants to see us grow."

"It's a committed team," notes Nick. "Coach Watson is prepared every day and constantly working with us."

With such a young team taking to the ice this year, the consensus is that what is lacking in experience is made up for with hard work. "I think we'll be a good defensive team this year and concentrate on putting pucks in the net."

If, indeed, this trio of front-line defensemen creates magic on ice, as a band would craft their collective notes on-stage, what's the biggest challenge?

"For me the hardest thing is the road trips and nights you get in late," explains T.J. "That can be rough, especially when you're trying to get ready and shine for the next game."

"A couple of times last year we got in at 3 AM and had to go play the next day," agrees Adam, "but we always found a way. Still, that can be a pretty big challenge."

As of their thoughts on the difference between professional and minor-league hockey, unity is found in the notion that ticket holders are in for a far less predictable ride.

"The younger guys can play, no doubt about that - and they are honing it down for the next level," reflects T.J.  "People get the chance to see that player in their prime. The pros are more serious, and this is a bit more fun, I would think."

"I agree, it's more exciting for fans," interjects Adam. "Our league is a young guy growing up type of thing. You can watch a player join a young team and see him grow into a better player, which is exciting to watch each year - how these guys change on the ice."

"I think people can find a player they like and watch him flourish," concludes Nick. "Plus you have a chance to communicate and interact with the players more often, which doesn't happen too often in the NHL."

The Saginaw Spirit begins their season against the London Knights at 7:00 PM on Sept. 17th.
Show some fresh 'Spirit' and come root our home team to greatness.
For tickets and more information go to


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