Monday, July 02, 2007

Ferguson takes over as Saginaw's GM

The Saginaw Spirit is pleased to announce the addition of Sheldon Ferguson to its staff as the team's general manager.

Ferguson comes to mid-Michigan after serving 12 seasons on the hockey staff of the NHL's 2005-06 Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes as the right-hand man to Carolina's GM and former OHL GM Jimmy Rutherford.

“Sheldon is regarded as one of the top hockey people in the game,” said Spirit owner Dick Garber. “We are excited about him bringing his championship experience to our program and our community.”

“We welcome a Stanley Cup champion, a three-time gold medalist and a man with strong family values to mid-Michigan and to the Saginaw Spirit,” said Spirit president Craig Goslin. “I am very confident that he will surround himself with the best coaching staff that is available in the game. Sheldon and his wife, Dorie, will be welcome additions to our program and to our mid-Michigan community.

"Ferguson has been a strong candidate since the very beginning of our search,” Goslin added. “He is a tireless worker and is one of the most respected hockey scouts in the game. Countless respected NHL references tell us that Sheldon has a top eye for analyzing a player's potential. Dick Garber and I are looking forward to having Sheldon's talent for the Saginaw Spirit, with the development of premier hockey prospects on the ice, and off the ice, as he works with his coaching and scouting staffs to mold the young men that play for the Spirit into successful people.”

“I would like to thank Jim Rutherford and the Carolina Hurricanes for a wonderful 12 years with the Hurricanes' organization,” said Ferguson. “It is with difficulty that I leave behind the great people that I worked with in Carolina, but I am looking forward with excitement to the new opportunities that are ahead working with Dick Garber, Craig Goslin and the entire Saginaw Spirit organization. My family and I are anxious to get settled in the beautiful Saginaw area and to become a part of the community. Our first order of business will be to get a committed and dedicated coaching staff in place and to get to know the players who will be the nucleus of the Saginaw Spirit for 2007-2008."

A graduate of Northeastern University, Ferguson spent two seasons as an assistant coach in the WHL, six seasons as a scout for the Quebec Nordiques and three seasons as the general manager and coach for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds.

Ferguson served two very successful seasons as the Director of Central Scouting for the entire OHL. He then was offered the distinct honor of serving as the Director of Scouting for the Canadian National Junior Team for four seasons. During those four seasons, the Canadian National Junior Team won three consecutive gold medals (1993-1995).

Ferguson currently resides in Kitchener, Ontario with his wife Dorie. He has two children in daughter, Kelly, and son, Troy (a former Plymouth Whalers' draft pick and Michigan State Spartan), who soon will receive his doctorate degree from Michigan State University.

Sheldon and Dorie will be relocating to mid-Michigan during the next few months.

Under Ferguson's direction and leadership, the Carolina Hurricanes have drafted the players that formed the nucleus of the 2005-06 Stanley Cup champions. Over the past eight seasons, as Director of Player Personnel and Director of Amateur Scouting, he guided the Hurricanes to draft Eric Staal, Erik Cole, Cam Ward and Andrew Ladd. Ferguson also drafted NHL standout defenseman Chris Pronger. The past eight seasons, Ferguson has been responsible for coordinating the Hurricane's NHL Entry Draft, guiding the team to select other top notch players while assisting to balance the chemistry of the club as the talented young draft choices mix with returning veterans.

Carolina's 2006 championship marked the first Stanley Cup of Ferguson's career.

Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch has extended a welcome to Ferguson as well.

"On behalf of the Ontario Hockey League, I congratulate the Saginaw Spirit in acquiring one of the true leaders and one of the premier scouts within the entire hockey industry, Mr. Sheldon Ferguson, as their team's new general manager,” Branch said. “Sheldon Ferguson's presence in our league adds tremendous credibility to both the quality of the OHL and the Saginaw Spirit franchise. Sheldon's career within the NHL as well, as the CHL, has been punctuated with success at every level. I am confident that his dedication, work ethic, talent, professionalism and winning habits will continue to raise the level of success of the Spirit organization."

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