Spirit, Firebirds holding training camps for upcoming season

Both the Saginaw Spirit and Flint Firebirds are gearing up for another shot at an OHL championship.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - The new Ontario Hockey League season kicks off in just a month.

Both the Saginaw Spirit and Flint Firebirds are gearing up for another shot at an OHL championship.

The Spirit continued its second training camp with its second blue vs white team scrimmage of the week at the Saginaw Bay Ice Arena.

After the white team claimed a victory Tuesday night, it was the blue team winning on Wednesday.

What really jumps out about this year’s team is their speed and the young prospects holding their own against the older players. That includes number one overall pick Michael Mesa.

The 15-year-old with exceptional status does not look out of place at all on the ice.

“I really enjoyed overall everything like meals, on ice, off ice,” Mesa said. “Overall it was a great experience,”

“He held his own for sure,” said Mitchell Smith, veteran defenseman. “I think the biggest thing that we’re gonna do as teammates this year is to remind him that he’s 15-years-old playing against older guys and his time of dominance will come but he just has to trust that process and there’s a reason why he’s here and he has to just believe in it and when his opportunity is called, I bet he’s gonna take it.”

The Flint Firebirds also continue training camp. The team is coming off the best season in Flint, losing in game seven of the Western Conference finals.

While the team did lose a trio of contributors, the birds return a very experienced core.

“I think it is good motivation for our guys they got a lot of valuable experience from the playoffs the two-game sevens in some tight series so I think it is a great experience for the guys that are returning here,” said Firebirds Head Coach and General Manager Ted Dent.

One of those core players is Captain Brennan Othmann. He won gold at the World Juniors with team Canada this summer. The New York Rangers 2021 first-round draft pick is hoping to make the Rangers roster when their camp opens next month.

If he returns to Flint, he is more than fired up to finish what the team started and that’s bring a championship to the Buick City.

“You can say it is Flint, Flint this Flint, Flint that but it is a great place to play,” Othmann said. “I love playing here I want to come down here. We are going to bring a trophy to this city this year. We are going to keep the I-75 and we are going to win the western conference and we want to win everything. So that’s the goal this year and we can do that.”

The season is just a month away. On Oct. 1, the Spirit and Firebirds will be hosting their home openers.

While the Spirit will be hosting Guelph, the Firebirds will be taking on Niagra.