Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Saginaw makes Walch signing official

The Saginaw Spirit have added a Saginaw native to its roster with the signing of local hockey standout Brad Walch.

“The signing of Brad Walch is a very special moment that brings great recognition to the Walch family, the city of Saginaw and the Saginaw Spirit hockey club,” stated Spirit GM Don Edwards.

Walch, from Thomas Township, is participating in the Spirit 2008 training camp this week at the Saginaw Bay Ice Arena in preparation for his first season in a Spirit uniform. The 1991-born defenseman is the first Spirit prospect from the Tri-County region to sign a contract with the team.

"We have all looked forward to the day when we would have a local player play for the club," said Saginaw owner Dick Garber. "I'm glad it's Brad because he will be not only a great representative of our club and community on the ice, but off the ice as well. He is a terrific young man. This is certainly a milestone that we hope will further connect the club with the region."

“He gained valuable experience last season and proved that he is now ready to make a big impact at the OHL level. Brad is a very reliable defensive defensemen, a strong skater who plays a poised, steady and physical game. He is a valuable addition to our hockey club, and will certainly become a local crowd favorite,” added Edwards.

Walch was drafted by the Spirit in the fifth round of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection, but choose to play for the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers last season to keep his NCAA eligibility. Walch compiled four assists in 53 games with the Buccaneers and joins the Spirit for his first year of NHL draft eligibility.

The Spirit's 2008-2009 slogan ‘Here Today, NHL Tomorrow’ is a good fit with this recent signing according to Spirit president and managing partner Craig Goslin.

“Having a local player of Brad's caliber on our roster will connect the dots with many in our community in regards to those that have not yet made the NHL connection between our league and the NHL," Goslin said. "Our league is the premier development league to the NHL, similar to what NCAA Division I football is to the NFL. The top four picks, and 80 of the top 100, selected in last year’s NHL draft came out of our league.

"We are looking forward to putting Brad in an environment where he can develop his talents and to see if he, too, can be one of the NHL draft picks that comes from the Saginaw Spirit and the OHL."

"The OHL is the finest development league in the world for young hockey players,” stated Garber. "I acknowledge Brad and his family for recognizing this and thank them for the confidence they have shown our organization."

More from the Saginaw News HERE.

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