On Monday, the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets announced the signing of Saginaw Spirit forward Cole Perfetti to a three-year, entry-level contract (ELC).
The Jets selected Perfetti with the 10th overall pick in the NHL Draft this past October, making him the highest a Spirit player has been drafted by an NHL team.
The 18-year old native of Whitby, Ontario spent the 2019-20 season rewriting the Spirit record books. His 111 points was the most scored by a Spirit player in team history, and second most in the entire Ontario Hockey League when the league was paused in March and eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Spirit called on Perfetti in the first round, fifth overall in the 2018 Under-17 Priority Selection Draft. Perfetti went on to set the Spirit record for most points by a 16-year old rookie in a single-season (74) and also led the entire OHL in rookie scoring, earning him OHL First All-Rookie Team honors.
In the summer of 2019, Perfetti was named to Team Canada’s Hlinka Gretzky Team, where he starred in the tournament. Perfetti led Team Canada in Goals (8) and Points (12), starring on the national stage. Perfetti scored two game-tying goals and an additional three times in the shootout to help Canada advance past Sweden in the Semifinals. Perfetti and his teammates would eventually earn a silver medal in the tournament.
Cole became the first player since Jack Combs (2007-08) to score 100 points in a season with a first period goal against the North Bay Battalion on February 23. Perfetti finished the 2019-20 campaign on a 12-game point streak, where he scored eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points. The sophomore forward was highly regarded among OHL Western Conference Coaches in the OHL’s annual Coaches Poll where he received top marks in Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler, and Best Shootout Shooter categories.
Perfetti’s record-setting 2019-20 season on the ice was matched by a myriad of off-ice accomplishments, as well. The 93% student became the first Spirit player awarded the Bobby Smith Trophy for OHL Scholastic Player of the Year and was later named Scholastic Player of the Year in the entire 60-team Canadian Hockey League. Perfetti attended Heritage High School in Saginaw and All Saints Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario, where he was enrolled in an impressive seven University level courses including Algebra, Analyzing Current Economic Issues, Elite Athletics, Healthy & Active Living, Leadership, Organizational Studies in Behavior and Human Resources, and World Religions.
The contributions of Perfetti to the Saginaw Spirit are also felt in the Great Lakes Bay Region with the development of “Fetts’ Friends”. The non-profit in partnership with the Saginaw Spirit Foundation, is focused on making a difference in the lives of local youths to help inspire them to achieve their dreams. Perfetti has already developed a partnership with Covenant Kids Saginaw and the Saginaw Hockey Association, and is looking forward to expanding the footprint in the years to come. To donate to Fetts’ Friends, visit shop.saginawspirit.com/fettsfriends.