Dave Drinkill and Chris Lazary

Saginaw Spirit general manager Dave Drinkill’s contract with the team has been extended through the 2023-24 Ontario Hockey League season.

Saginaw Spirit general manager Dave Drinkill’s contract with the team has been extended through the 2023-24 Ontario Hockey League season.

In turn, Drinkill has extended the contract of head coach Chris Lazary through the 2023-24 season.

“On behalf of owner Dick Garber, we recognize the strong effort that Dave Drinkill and Chris Lazary demonstrate everyday as our General Manager and Head Coach”, said Spirit President and Managing Partner Craig Goslin. “Our ultimate goal is to win an OHL Championship for our community. Dave, Chris, and their entire staff has built a championship-contending roster with back-to-back West Division Championships and a culture of development for our players that, we feel, is second to none. The total player development program mirrors the Saginaw Spirit core values of strong work ethic, loyalty, pride, integrity, empathy, respect and honesty, as well as matches our mission statement of developing young talented athletes into successful people, on and off the ice.”

Drinkill pulled off a trade with North Bay on Tuesday, June 1 involving seven draft picks. The Spirit will get three of North Bay picks next week, a second, sixth, and tenth, in exchange for four future Saginaw picks spread out over the next three years.

Drinkill will embark on his sixth season with the Spirit after COVID-19 canceled the 2020-21 OHL campaign. Since the start 2015-16 season, the Saginaw Spirit said Drinkill has overseen 166 regular-season victories, making him the highest winning general manager in the team’s history.

“I would like to thank Dick Garber, Craig Goslin, Jimmy Devellano, Brandon Bordeaux and Chris Osgood for their outstanding ownership, passion, and commitment to our program and the community of Saginaw,” said Drinkill. “I am extremely happy and grateful that I will continue to be the general manager in Saginaw for the next three seasons and I look forward to pushing our program to the next level. I truly believe that Saginaw is an outstanding place for young men to play junior hockey and grow as people, on and off the ice. It is truly a hidden gem in the OHL. We provide our players everything they need to reach their goals and dreams. Working side-by-side with our head coach Chris Lazary, I believe we have created one of the premier programs in the Canadian Hockey League. I am happy that we were able to come to terms with Chris and extend his contract, as well. He is an outstanding young coach that has tremendous work ethic and an extreme passion for the game. I know all our current and incoming players will continue to develop under Chris and his staff. I am excited to see what the future has in store.”

Chris Lazary is entering his second full season as head coach and his fifth year behind the Spirit bench after being named associate coach before the 2016-17 season. His .704 regular-season winning percentage is the highest of any head coach in Spirit franchise history.

The Saginaw Spirit will hit the ice this fall with the OHL season starting on Oct. 7.

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