Spirit draft two defensemen in 2023 U18 Priority Selection

Saginaw, Mich.- In the 2023 U18 Priority Selection, the Saginaw Spirit drafted Adam Varga (14th Overall), and Julian Stubgen (34th Overall). All U18 players not currently on a CHL Member Team Protected List who were carded with an Ontario-based U18 AAA Hockey Club or an accredited Hockey Canada sport school within the OHF, HNO or HEO in the 2022-23 playing season were eligible for the U18 Priority Selection.

From Mississauga, Ont., defenseman Adam Varga was Saginaw’s 1st round selection in the 2018 U18 Priority Selection. In 2022-2023, Varga skated in 30 games with the Burlington Eagles. His 14 points (8G, 6A) led all Burlington blueliners. Varga also played a game with the Hamilton Kilty-B’s of the GOJHL, and two games with the OJHL’s Collingwood Blues. The left-handed defenseman stands 6’2” and weighs 180lbs.

“Adam is a player that we had rated very highly on our U18 draft list,” said Spirit GM Dave Drinkill. “He’s a mobile defenseman with size and a strong two-way game.”

Defenseman Julian Stubgen was selected 34th overall from the London Jr. Knights. The Thorndale, Ont. native skated in 39 games with the Jr. Knights, tied for the most among London defensemen. He tallied six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 2022-2023, and stands 5’11”, 175lbs. He also skated in eight games with the London Nationals of the GOJHL, scoring a goal and two assists.

“Julian is a player we tracked last season and felt that he should have been a pick then,” said Drinkill. “He’s a skilled D-man with good offensive tools and a player we believe can fit into our system. We’re excited for Adam and Julian to join the Spirit family and can’t wait to see them on the ice at our upcoming development camp.”

This marks the first U18 Priority Selection in which the Spirit have selected two defenseman since its institution in 2017. The Spirit have selected 17 players in U18 Priority Selections. This season, the Spirit rostered three players selected via U18 Priority Selection (Ian Phillips, Calem Mangone, Lincoln Moore).

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