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      Time winding down for local Spirit player Brad Walch

      Walch sits at his locker inside the Spirit locker room.

      When he was drafted by the Saginaw Spirit four years ago, defenseman Brad Walch had lofty goals.

      "I wanted to get drafted by the NHL," Walch said.

      Four years later, an older and wiser blue liner still has the same dream.

      "I want to keep playing hockey as long as I can," he said. "Hopefully our team has a long run in the playoffs, and maybe some scouts will see it, get I a try out," Walch said.

      With five regular season games left, it's sinking in for the 21-year-old that his time is winding down. Before it's all said and done, number '2' will go down in the team record books as he's played in 286 games for the Spirit so far.

      "It's definitely a big accomplishment; people don't realize how good of a league the OHL is," Walch said. "I'm really proud I survived for four years."

      The Thomas Township native is the only local player to ever wear a Spirit jersey, which made him fast friends early on.

      "When I first got here, all the older guys wanted me to introduce them to girls," Walch said. "I'd try to help them out a little?| but mostly I try to keep them out of trouble."

      Walch said if he doesn't get to the NHL, he'll use the scholarship the OHL provides to finally finish his education.

      "It's been great the last four years, couldn't ask for anything more," Walch said. "Out with the old and in with the new."