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NEWS: Spirit announce signings of Zayne Parekh, Bode Stewart

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Saginaw, Mich. – Saginaw Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill announced Thursday the signing of 2022 first round pick Zayne Parekh and 2022 second round pick Bode Stewart to Standard Player Agreements.

“With Zayne, he’s a defenseman that can be a power play quarterback” said Drinkill. “He is very skilled, has great vision, and makes players around him better. We felt Zayne was one of the best passing defensemen in the draft, and he fits our style extremely well. He has the ability to bring you out of your seat when he’s carrying the puck up the ice.”

Parekh, 16, played the 2021-22 season with the Markham Majors U16 team, putting up 24 goals and 41 assists for 65 points in 51 games. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound defenseman starred at the OHL Cup, leading the Majors in scoring with eight points in six games. Parekh also earned a Jr. A call-up to the North York Rangers, appearing in three games. The Spirit selected Parekh with the 19th overall pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection.

“This moment means a lot (to sign with the Saginaw Spirit),” said Parekh in a press gathering Thursday at The Dow Event Center. “I’m so happy to that the management has put this much trust in us. Saginaw is just mind-blowing. You see the dressing room and it feels like you’re playing in the NHL.”

The Spirit locked up their second round pick Thursday as well, announcing the signing of the 24th overall pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection, Bode Stewart.

“The first thing that jumps out about Bode is the speed in which he plays the game,” said Drinkill. “We looked at what he can do off the rush, his competitiveness, his drive, he is a winner and we were thrilled to select him where we did in the draft because we had him higher on our list. We see him growing and maturing into that dependable player you put on the ice in big moments of big games. You win with players like Bode Stewart.”

Stewart, 16, spent the 2021-22 season with the Mississauga Senators U16, where he was teammates with Spirit first overall pick. Michael Misa. Stewart was one of six players on the Sens roster to average more than one point per game during the regular season, scoring 75 points (35 goals, 40 assists) in 53 games. Stewart kept up his point per game pace in the OHL Cup, scoring 12 points in seven games, helping the Sens to the championship. The 6-foot-1, 152-pound winger from Oakville, Ontario also appeared in two playoff games for the Oakville Blades (Jr. A).

“I’m super excited and I can’t wait to get started,” said Stewart Thursday. “The staff, the owners, the coaches are all great and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”

Zayne Parekh will wear No. 19 for the Spirit, while Bode Stewart has chosen No. 71.

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