|2002-03 Inaugural Game--Spirit vs. Sarnia|
This program is from the first regular season game in Spirit history. The Spirit played host to the Sarnia Sting, in front of a capacity crowd of 5496, but lost 5-2. The game was also broadcast locally on WNEM TV 5, with Red Wings announcers Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond calling the game.
Saginaw was coached by former Gears forward Dennis Desrosiers, and former Wheels forward Jamey Hicks was his assistant.
While the Spirit were the transplanted North Bay Centennials, the team pretty much performed like an expansion team in their first year in Saginaw. The Spirit finished the season with an 11-45-5-7 record, worst in the OHL. But unlike the UHL teams, the Spirit were a huge success in the box office, averaging 4026 per game, about double what the Lumber-Gears drew.
I remember being kind of underwhelmed when the nickname was announced, but that logo is killer. Patriotism was riding high at the time, so a logo and nickname like that seemed to fit like a glove. I still believe, however, if it wasn't for that joke of a UHL franchise, the Spirit might have been called "Saginaw Gears" instead. Oh well, guess we'll never know.
|2003-04 Regular Season--Spirit vs. Brampton|
The Spirit's second season was similar to the first, as Saginaw once again brought up the rear in the West Division. Their 16-45-3-4 record was tied with Belleville for the worst record in the OHL. But just like the previous year, the record didn't faze the crowds, as attendance actually grew to 4,263 per game, tops in the West Division.
Desrosiers would resign after the 2003-04 season and would be replaced by Doug Lidster. He would remain with the organization as color commentator in Spirit radio broadcasts until retiring after the 2011-12 season.
|2009-10 Regular Season--Spirit vs. Windsor|
The Spirit finished 34-27-4-3 in 2009-10, in fourth place but just four points out of second. In the playoffs, Saginaw fell to Kitchener in six games.
|2010-11 Regular Season--Spirit vs. Sarnia|
After surviving a tough six-game series against Guelph, Saginaw was knocked out in the second round by Windsor in six games.
The player in the center of the trio is Brandon Saad, who currently plays on the top line in Chicago with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
|2011-12 OHL Playoffs--Spirit vs. London|
Gilbert's coaching tactics turned the Spirit's season around, as they finished in third place with a 33-27-2-5 record, a point behind second place Sarnia. With Brandon Saad leading the way, the Spirit upset Nail Yakupov and the Sting in Round One in six games. They gave top-seeded London a fight in Round Two, but fell in six games. Gilbert was so impressive as coach that he was named OHL Coach of the Year for 2011-12. Attendance hovered around 3774 per game for the year.