(09/27/12) - Following an 0 and 2 start on the road, Thursday is opening night for the Saginaw Spirit at the Dow Event Center.
"It's really exciting. You wait all summer to get back and now it's finally here. The boys are ready to go, and hope that the community comes out tonight and this weekend to get us going," said Brandon Archibald, Spirit Defenseman.
To help fill the Dow against the Sudberry Wolves, and to show their community Spirit, some of the players have been giving away their personal tickets to fans on Twitter.
"Definitely. I want to see this place as full as possible, and if I have to give away my tickets, I'll do it for sure," said Clint Windsor, Spirit goalie.
Speaking of tickets, as the team enters its eleventh Ontario Hockey League season in Saginaw, sales at the box office remain steady.
"The response has been very, very good. The group sales are very strong. That's one thing we're really trying to emphasize is getting groups from companies and churches," said Leigh Cunningham, Spirit Broadcasting & Communications director.
While the guys look forward to taking the ice, they're also excited to meet Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields. The Flint boxer will drop the ceremonial puck before the game.
"To have her here as a gold medalist, it's crazy. The amount of work that she put in to get there is unreal, and we need to show our support here tonight for her too," Windsor said.
With the Red Wings season on hold due to the NHL lockout, the Spirit hope they'll attract the support of some new hockey-hungry fans.
"Especially in this area, it's the next best thing to the Red Wings, and I think it will help us draw a crowd, and it should be fun for the fans," Archibald said.
"This is the best developmental league in the world and the numbers will support that. You're seeing the next wave of NHL talent each and every night, not just with the Saginaw Spirit players, but with the visiting teams that come in," Cunningham said.
Faceoff for Thursday's Spirit game is at 7:11.
Tickets are still available for the opener, as well as Saturday night's game.
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