This first season for the Savannah Ghost Pirates was one for the books. The team left a huge mark on the Lowcountry locals as it brought a whole new sport as an option for the kids in the Savannah area. The future of hockey in the Lowcountry is bright, and many possibilities are growing. I spoke with many of the Ghost Pirates’ biggest fans, and their gratitude for the team will not go unnoticed. In the sincerest fashion, here are their notes of appreciation.
How Savannah Fell in Love with the Ghost Pirates
Many of Savannah’s newly-dedicated fans were determined to attend as many games as possible. Some fans like John Piry, who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, couldn’t physically attend any games. However, he made sure to be there in spirit, thanks to Flo Hockey. When asked about how long he has been into hockey, Piry said, “All my life. In Canada, hockey is our religion.” Travis Hermel was able to make it to the Savannah Ghost Pirates season opener. He said it was an incredible game and a trip he will never forget. He also cheered for Savannah when they were away in North Georgia and Greenville, and he was able to attend those games in person. Michele O’Brien was a full-season ticket holder and came to about 80% of home games with her daughter. They also traveled to several Ghost Pirates games in Jacksonville. Michele said this about her love of hockey, “I am a lifelong hockey fan. Some of my favorite memories with my dad were going to AHL hockey games, where we had season tickets to the Hershey Bears. Our seats were right behind the penalty box – I learned a lot of extras about the game! Sadly, my dad passed from a stroke, but I took him to a Minnesota Wild game days before he passed. A memory I will never forget. And as a Mom now, I am so happy to share the experience with my daughter!” Michele now enjoys cheering on the Vegas Golden Knights.
Savannah Ghost Pirates hosted several incredible events throughout their inaugural season. Military Night and Hockey Fights Cancer were two of the fans’ favorite event nights. The majority of the fans loved the Black Panther, Hockey Fights Cancer, and Military Appreciation jerseys. Watching the Ghost Pirates’ tribute to one of the staff members who had fought hard to win in his own battle with cancer was an incredibly touching moment for the fans to share with the team.
How the Ghost Pirates plundered their way into our hearts
The fans adore this team of hard-working athletes, and watching the players go out of their way to interact with their fans was incredibly special. The players were very humble and incredibly thoughtful towards their fans.
While the Lowcountry loves all our Ghost Pirate players, Isaiah Saville, Connor Corcoran, Brent Pederson, Darian Skeoch, Marshall Moise, Logan Drevitch, Alex Swetlikoff, Daniel D’Amato, Pat Guay, Tristan Thompson, Jordan Papirny and Michael Bullion hold a special place in the heart of the fans. Savannah fans felt our net was always safe with our three main goalies on guard – Saville, Papirny, and Bullion. The backlines were always on fire when manned by Darian Skeoch, Tristan Thompson, and Connor Corcoran.
“Well, you already know Skeoch and Bullion are my favorites for sure! I would also add Alex Swetlikoff as my favorite forwards because he was a great all-around addition to the team with scoring and assists. I just like how he played.” -Kristina Mulcahy.
When asked about his favorite forward, defenseman, and goalie, first responder Ryan Zold added, “Forward: Spencer Naas. He had the most points out of the forwards and was fun to watch. Defenseman: Tristan Thompson, same reasons listed above for favorite player. Goalie: Isiah Saville. He was incredible to watch on net at the beginning of the year.”
Hailie Klinger said that her favorite Ghost Pirates were “D’Amato, who always held up the team’s scores and sped up and down the ice. Skeoch was my favorite defender, as he would get into fights, and my favorite goalie is Papirny because he is a huge people person. I got to meet him, and I just love his personality. I met each of them; they were all so nice and friendly.”
Most Memorable Moments
Many fans of the SGP have such great memories from this season that they will carry into next season. For Trish Nhan, who attended 34 home games, some of her favorite memories included: “The final game where the team hugged each other after a winning goal, and it was right by the glass where we sat. It was like we were a part of that group hug! As well as an awesome moment at the end of one of the games, we got thrown a puck from Nick Tuzzolino!”
For Andrew Chafer, it was “D’Amato putting the puck in the back of the net with three seconds left on the clock. That was awesome.”
To Hailie Klinger, her best memories made at Enmarket Arena were “going to games with my best friend and meeting my favorite players with her.”
Ghost Pirate – Influences
“The team has influenced me in many ways. I figure skate, and it’s opened a huge skating community here in Savannah and love getting to be a part of the ice sports community. Meeting new friends and people that have the same interest, something to bond over together with, something to be proud of, and being a part of something new, special, and exciting. Great place to network and meet new people.”- Trish Nhan
“Our kids are playing hockey in the house and outside now. We’ve got tons of hockey gear and Ghost Pirates memorabilia now. All they talk about is hockey, Ghost Pirates, and Davy!” -Kristina Mulcahy.
“The home opener. The energy in the arena between the players and the fans was unbelievable. My daughter’s favorite memory for this season was meeting all of the players.” -Dustin Hetzel.
Hailie Klinger says, “I had the best experiences there, making amazing memories.”
Going to the Ghost Pirates’ games gave me a new opportunity to spend more quality time with my hard-working dad. They gave us memories that I will cherish, as well as extra time that I am thankful we could spend together.
To finish up, here are some thank you messages from each of the fans I spoke with.
Trish Nhan: Thank you for being interactive with the fans, and thank you for your time they take out for the fans.
Michelle O’Brien: Never giving up this season! First-year team, with lots of movement among the players/rosters, a rough losing stretch, and at the end of the season, came back strong as ever. They came out to play every game, they appreciated the fans and support, and provided an amazing experience!
Kristina Mulcahy: Thank you for a great season! Can’t wait for next year!
Travis Hermel: Savannah, there is so much to be thankful for. I don’t know where to start. While we didn’t make the playoffs, I know there is absolutely potential for a playoff run! Season one is just getting our legs under us. Thank you so much for making season one so memorable. I am excited to see what is in store for the future.
Dustin Hetzel: Thanks for picking Savannah, the “Hostess City of the South”, as your home for the Savannah Ghost Pirates franchise. Looking forward to many, many years of ice hockey at the arena. The SGP influence for my family has been it has given my daughter and myself something to go watch and build that father-daughter bond over a sport/hobby making memories over hockey. She loves the SGP and one day hopes to be able to practice here in the area enough starting this season to go to college one day at one of the NCAA college/university that will soon start offering girls ice hockey as a sport. My daughter says that they are an overall great team to watch and it gave her a local sport look forward to attend weekly/monthly games.
Andrew Chafer: Great first season; facing some growing pains, the team played tough!
Ryan Zold: Thank you for putting the fans as such a high priority. You all have provided me the opportunity to make so many great memories just over this first season. Between the games and the social events where you all interacted with the fans, it has all been fantastic.
Hailie Klinger: Thank you, guys, for really giving it your all, all of the time. I had a blast watching you guys and meeting some of you.
I would like to thank the team for being the best, helping me discover my love for the sport, and giving me an incredibly fun time to bond with my dad. Thanks for also giving me such fun experiences with my best friend before she leaves for college. I look forward to what new memories I will have next season.