(11/14/12) - The Saginaw Spirit have been playing their home games at the Dow
Event Center ever since the team came to Mid-Michigan 11 years ago.
Wednesday, the Ontario Hockey League team and the event center announced an agreement that will keep the Spirit in Saginaw, ending speculation the team might move elsewhere in Mid-Michigan.
The Spirit will call the Dow Event Center home for another four seasons after this season, so all the talk about moving to Midland or Freeland is over - for now.
"We have put 1.4 million ticket buyers through this facility over the last 10 years," said Craig Goslin, Saginaw Spirit team president.
And thousands more will be coming to the Dow Event Center to watch Saginaw Spirit hockey over the next four seasons, as the team and the event center have agreed to a new lease agreement, keeping the Spirit in downtown Saginaw through the 2016-17 season.
"Getting a long term deal definitely is something we can plan accordingly now," said Matt Blasy general manager of the Dow Event Center.
There had been speculation that the Spirit were possibly looking at a new place to play, in a new arena, somewhere in Mid-Michigan. But Goslin says that speculation should have ended last year when Saginaw County taxpayers approved an extension of a millage to support the arena.
"Once the millage was renewed, there was no question we were going to find a way to renew our lease," Goslin said.
But it was just a few weeks ago, after the Michigan Baseball Foundation bought property near the Dow Diamond in Midland, the talk started up again. Could the Spirit move to Midland? The answer is no.
"From our end, we were not all that concerned with all the talk going on," Blasy said.
Blasy says demolition and construction projects around the arena will give fans easier access to the facility, including a new parking lot.
"Be able to park cars within the next couple of weeks," he said.
The Spirit have a home game Wednesday night against the Plymouth Whalers.
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