Friday, May 01, 2009

Paliafito and Patafie hired in Saginaw

The Saginaw Spirit has announce several key additions to its hockey operations staff with the hiring of James Paliafito in the position of director of scouting and Brian Patafie as the team’s athletic trainer and equipment manager.

The hirings represent a huge win for the organization as it continues to develop both its on-ice and off-ice product.

Paliafito brings nearly 30 years of sports business experience to the Spirit. Most recently, he served as the VP of player personnel for the USHL's Indiana Ice. While with the Ice, the Shelbyville, Ky., resident ran the team’s draft and conducted all player transactions. His efforts helped field the current Ice team that is currently competing in the USHL championship.

Prior to working with Indiana, Paliafito was a sports agent in the NFL for 20 years and represented several Heisman Trophy winners. His father was also a partner in a group that owned the Chicago Bulls in the late 1960s.

“I am very excited about joining the Spirit family and a great league,” stated Paliafito. “I look forward to the OHL draft and the opportunity to help build a championship team with head coach (Todd) Watson and the rest of the staff.”

"Jim's reputation throughout the world of junior hockey precedes him here in Saginaw,” stated Spirit president and partner Craig Goslin. “He has been a consistent champion as a major ingredient to the Indiana Ice in the USHL. He also has been regarded by many in the NHL as one of the top scouts in the amateur ranks. Jim is very familar with the Ontario-based draft-eligible talent, making him a great fit for the model that Todd Watson is building here in Saginaw."

Patafie is considered one of the premier and most respected trainers in the sport of hockey, having accumulated over 32 consecutive years of experience. He spent eight years with the OHL's Ottawa 67’s, including the last six seasons, and 15 years with the Calgary Flames organization. Patafie is also the author of the recently released book "ICE IT DOWN - A Look At Pro Hockey Through A Trainers Eyes!"

“My family and I are very excited about the opportunity that awaits us in Saginaw," Patafie said. "Coming into the Dow Events Center over the last six years as part of the Ottawa 67's staff, I have witnessed that it is an exciting and fun atmosphere for the fans, but it is a tough building for the visiting teams. (Former Ottawa head coach) Brian Kilrea used to say to us before the games in Saginaw, ‘We are already down a man, their fans are their extra man!’ We feel very blessed to be moving to Saginaw and joining such a fine organization.”

"Along with being a personal friend of mine for the past eight years, Brian Patafie is regarded by many as the premier athletic trainer/equipment manager in the entire business,” stated Goslin. “Brian's reputation of being a family man and a major support for the players that he works with are just a few of the reasons that we selected him to be a part of the Spirit organization. He has written a book and has been the focus on many positive stories that have been written about his life in the business of hockey.

"Brian's positive attitude and championship pedigree are elements that we welcome to the Saginaw Spirit."

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