Saginaw Spirit defenseman Mitchell Smith signed his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) contract Tuesday, June 11 shortly after 2:00 p.m.

Smith was chosen in the fifth round of this year’s OHL draft and brings something unique to the table for the Spirit, homegrown talent.

The Spirit had only one other player in team history from Saginaw: Brad Walch, the franchise leader in playoff games played. Walch was drafted to the OHL in 2008 and played four years with the team until moving on in 2012.

Defenseman Mitchell Smith with his parents sitting in front of his new locker (Photo credit- Ric Antonio; WSGW)

With a legacy like that, Smith said he hopes to bring that kind of grit to the Dow Event Center. However, Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill says there’s no expectations or even player comparisons on the table just yet because he wants Smith to grow into his own kind of player. Drinkill says Smith has an incredibly high ceiling, as most players at age 17  should still have some room to grow.

Smith went to Saginaw Township’s Heritage High School and played baseball, but played hockey for the Oakland Junior Grizzlies. He said his development from both sports helped him on the ice and the diamond, but his heart is with hockey. He turned down an offer to play for the University of Michigan’s baseball team, which is preparing for the 2019 College World Series.

Mitchell Smith’s New Saginaw Spirit Jersey (Photo credit- Ric Antonio; WSGW)

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