Spirit sign Dave Drinkill, Chris Lazary to three-year contract extensions
Saginaw, Mich.- The Saginaw Spirit are pleased to announce contract extensions for both General Manager Dave Drinkill and Head Coach Chris Lazary. Taking effect next season, the extensions run through the 2026-2027 season.
“On behalf of Saginaw Spirit owner Dick Garber, we recognize the talent, outstanding performance and strong effort that our GM Dave Drinkill and our Head Coach Chris Lazary demonstrate every day,” said team President, Managing Partner, and Governor Craig Goslin. “With the excitement of hosting the 2024 Memorial Cup, this three -year contract extension secures both Drinks and Laz well into the future to lead our franchise.”
“Together, they have built a culture for development that is second to none. The total Spirit player development program that they have cultivated, on and off the ice, mirrors the Saginaw Spirit core values of strong work ethic, loyalty, pride, integrity, empathy, respect and honesty as well as matching our mission statement of developing talented student athletes into successful people.“
After joining the Spirit in the summer of 2015, Drinkill enters his ninth season as the GM in Saginaw. His Spirit teams have won a franchise-best 226 games during the regular season and claimed a pair of West Division titles (2019, 2020). The Spirit made their way to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history under Drinkill, who now stands tasked with building a roster to take his team to the Memorial Cup and beyond.
“I want to start by thanking Mr. Garber, Mr. Goslin, Mr. Bordeaux, and the entire Spirit ownership group for believing in me and allowing me to continue doing what I love,” said Drinkill. “I am very proud of this organization and how far we have come since I was named general manager here in 2015, and with everyone’s hard work we have become an elite franchise in the CHL.”
Prior to arriving in Saginaw, the Elmvale, Ont. native spent four seasons as the assistant general manager of the Barrie Colts. Drinkill graduated with a Sports Management degree from Laurentian University.
“This team and this city are very special to me and I am extremely grateful that I’m able to sign this extension,” said Drinkill “We have a big year ahead of us and more exciting years to come. I will work as hard as I possibly can to reach the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to this great city and its fans.”
Signing a three-year extension of his own, Chris Lazary has been Saginaw’s head coach since his promotion in November of 2018. The Spirit won 34 games down the stretch that year, claiming their first West Division title and first trip to the Western Conference Final in franchise history. With 135 wins in his Spirit career, Lazary sits just 20 shy of setting a new franchise record (Todd Watson, 154 wins, 2007-2011).
“I’m excited to be able to call Saginaw home for the foreseeable future,” said Lazary. “I’m proud of what our team has been able to accomplish through so much hard work. I’m grateful to Spirit ownership and management that I’ve been able to spend eight years here already, and I’m looking forward to what this group will achieve as the season begins.”
Lazary spent two seasons an associate coach before taking the reigns in 2018. Before his arrival in Saginaw, he was an assistant coach with the Sarnia Sting for two years, and the head coach of the GOJHL’s Waterloo Siskins in 2013-2014.
“I’m thrilled to be able to extend Chris’ contract through the 2026-27 season,” said Drinkill. “He and I have worked very closely the past 5 seasons and I look forward to building on what we have done here in Saginaw. He is an extremely talented, hardworking, and detailed coach that puts everything he has into the Spirit program and our players. This program has taken great strides forward thanks to the work that he puts in as our head coach.”
As the preseason draws to a close, the Spirit prepare for their regular season opener in Kitchener on September 29th. Tickets to Saginaw’s home opener on September 30th against Sarnia are on sale now, and great seats are still available.
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