Saginaw, MI – Saginaw Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill announced today (Sept.10) the organization has signed defenseman Matthew Jovanovic (Joh-van-oh-vick) to a Standard Player Agreement and Education Package.
“Going into the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, we had Matthew as one of the top-rated defensemen in the draft,” said Drinkill. “The way he can skate and transport pucks with his elite hockey brain and his elite skating ability, we believe he fits perfectly into our style of play and the type of defenseman we’re looking for. We believe that Matthew has a very high ceiling and a chance to be a top player in our league, as well as a coveted prospect in his NHL Draft year. We look forward to developing him on and off the ice during his junior career and welcome him to the Spirit family.”
Jovanovic was selected by the Spirit in the second round, 31st overall in the 2020 OHL Under-17 Priority Selection Draft. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound 16-year-old from Toronto, Ontario appeared in 12 games during the 2020-21 season for Des Moines in the United States Hockey League. He is eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft.
“I am very excited to be joining the Spirit organization and I am looking forward to helping the team any way I can,” said Jovanovic. “I want to thank the ownership group for welcoming me. I want to thank Dave Drinkill and (head coach) Chris Lazary for their time and effort through the whole process. Their leadership has been greatly appreciated. The community’s support for the Spirit is awesome and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Jovanovic continued: “I believe the Spirit organization is the right fit for me. They are a first-class outfit from top to bottom. I appreciate that their focus is geared toward improvement and development as not only hockey players, but as students and people as well. The work ethic and winning culture here is something that I want to be a part of and I feel confident Saginaw is the right place for me to further my hockey career.”
Jovanovic will wear No. 9 this year for the Spirit.