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Spirit hire Mantha as interim head coach

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Moe Mantha is back behind an OHL bench.

The Sturgeon Falls native, who had been serving as head coach and general manager of the NOJHL’s first-year expansion French River Rapids, was named interim head coach of the Saginaw Spirit on Tuesday after the OHL club fired head coach Greg Gilbert earlier in the day.

Gilbert had been with the Spirit since the 2011-12 season, when he was also named the OHL coach of the year. However, the Spirit have lost eight straight contests and have piled up some bad losses of late, including an 11-4 drubbing at the hands of the Sarnia Sting on Monday. The Spirit hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 20-29-6 record, with 13 games left to play in the regular season.

“The Saginaw Spirit would like to thank Greg Gilbert for all his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last five seasons,” Spirit GM Dave Drinkill said in a press release. “There is never any easy time for something like this to happen and it is the toughest part of the hockey industry. We want to wish Greg Gilbert all the best moving forward.”

Mantha, who had been working as Saginaw’s Northern Ontario scout, also served as interim head coach for the Spirit during the 2003 season.

Read more here: www.thesudburystar.com/2016/02/16/spirit-hire-mantha-as-interim-head-coach