Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Saginaw hands out awards for '05-06 year

Saginaw first-rounder Nick Crawford and coach-GM Bob Mancini

It was a whirlwind weekend for Saginaw Spirit prospects as the OHL Priority Selection class of 2006 came to Saginaw last weekend. Players and prospects joined Spirit fans for the fourth annual Saginaw Spirit Awards Ceremony at the Temple Theater in Downtown Saginaw.

The ceremony honored players for their achievements over what had been a record breaking season:

Community Service Award -- Jesse Gimblett
Academic Award -- Garrett Sinfield
Heart and Soul Award -- Patrick Asselin
Wren Blair Leadership Award -- Jesse Gimblett
Rookie of the Year -- Zack Torquato
Most Improved Player -- Scott Fletcher
Most Valuable Defenseman - Patrick McNeill
Leading Scorer Award -- Ryan McDonough
Team MVP -- Patrick McNeill
Fan Favorite -- Francois Thuot

Even a fan was recognized for his Spirit, when Travis Hayes was awarded the Glenn Geer Spirit Celebration Award, or the "walleye." The award was created in the memory of walleye tosser Glenn Geer, who unexpectedly passed away last season.

First-Round Draft Pick Crawford Presented Jersey

The Spirit also presented first-round draft pick Nick Crawford with a jersey during a ceremony Saturday afternoon. Crawford was Saginaw's first pick, 12th overall, in the May 6 draft and is a native of Caledon, Ontario, who played with the GTHL champion Don Mills Flyers last season. The left-shot defenseman had 10 goals and 44 assists in 80 games.

Crawford's family joined him for the ceremony.

"We had an early indication that many OHL teams were looking at Nick," said Geoff Crawford, Nick's dad. "Our contacts at Newport Sports kept us very well informed about the OHL draft process."

Geoff and his wife, Sandra, were joined by their daughter, Melissa, during draft camp weekend.

"We visited 10-15 OHL rinks during the season last year," Geoff Crawford recalled. "Everyone in the league did a very good job of answering our questions about the OHL. I was very impressed with the league's commitment to education, for example."

Nick Crawford says he's looking forward to building on his season last year with Don Mills.

"We had a great season, and really started to achieve when we came together as a team," he said. "I want to spend the summer improving my physical condition, overall quickness and strength."

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