Dillon Clark • The Voice of the Saginaw Spirit

    Additional Reporting by
    icon May 14, 2024
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While growing up in Michigan, literally thousands of young Detroit Tiger fans fell asleep with a transistor radio next to them while listening to the golden voice of famed broadcaster Ernie Harwell.


Dillon Clark – a native of Pittsburgh - didn’t have that luxury.


However, as a youngster he gravitated to the sport of hockey and would fall asleep with the transistor radio next to his bed listening to veteran Pittsburg Penguins play-by-play man Mike Lange. Lange, who had a brilliant 26-year-year career with the Penguins, received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his outstanding work as an NHL broadcaster.


Clark played both hockey and baseball and a little basketball while growing up and quickly fell in love with the sport of hockey – and the Penguins.


As a student at the University of South Carolina, he began operating a television camera during his freshman year at various Gamecocks sporting events such as men’s and women’s soccer, softball, baseball, as well as South Carolina’s club hockey team. After providing his own hockey observations to the play-by-play team, they offered him a chance to join the broadcast.


He delivered flawlessly and the rest, as they say, is history. Clark would go on to work for four years calling Gamecocks hockey games. Immediately after graduating from South Carolina, he took a position as Vice President of Media Relations and Play-by-Play Broadcaster with the Carolina Thunderbirds of the Federal Prospects Hockey League


Also working for the Thunderbirds at the time was head coach Garrett Rutledge, who previously served as the Saginaw Spirit’s video/assistant coach from 2019-2021.


When Rutledge heard the Saginaw Spirit were seeking a new play-by-play man, he didn’t hesitate to recommend Clark to Spirit President and Managing Partner Craig Goslin. Goslin and Spirit Vice President of Business Management Lindsay McDougal initially interviewed Clark. One week later Clark had a second interview, this time with Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill and head coach Chris Lazary.


“I thought it went pretty well but another week went by and I didn’t hear anything from them,” said Clark. “I was getting a little concerned but then Craig called me again, saying that he had one additional question to ask.” That question was whether Clark wouldn’t mind helping out from time to time with other departments within the organization when needed.


“I told Craig ‘Yes’ and he said that’s all he needed to hear,” explained Clark.


Goslin quickly interjected, “Welcome to the Saginaw Spirit organization.” That was in November of 2022 and the season had already begun. “I still haven’t had a full, normal season yet,” Clark said, referring to added duties he’s taken on because of the Memorial Cup. Ironically, Rutledge, Clark’s friend from the Thunderbirds, rejoined the Spirit this year as an assistant coach.


Clark checks off all the boxes when it comes to broadcasting. He is energetic, knowledgeable, can multi-task, and has good pipes. The position, however, has a multitude of duties. As Director of Communications and Broadcasting, the versatile Clark handles both the radio and television broadcast for the organization, conducts Press Conferences, writes Press Releases, does the game preview and recaps, and does a weekly hockey show with Cumulus Radio.


“The toughest part of the job is budgeting your time,” viewed Clark. He noted that for a 7 p.m. regular season game, he heads to the office around 9 a.m. to write game notes for the contest and record promos. After a quick bite to eat, he heads to the Dow Event Center around 4 p.m. to record interviews with players and coaches. A typical game ends around 10 p.m. After writing a game recap for social media, he leaves the rink around 10:45 or 11 p.m. He sometimes heads out with friends to eat and decompress, depending on the Spirit’s schedule. He dabbles playing the guitar and calls hockey not only his profession, but his hobby.


Clark said that (Michael) Doc Emrick is the gold standard for any budding broadcaster who grew up in the United States. He also said that Detroit Red Wings broadcaster Ken Daniels is a person he rates highly as well.


“Because of our association with (Spirit partner) Chris Osgood, I was able to meet Ken Daniels,” said Clark. “He is a phenomenal person to know and someone I would call a mentor.”


Goslin said that Clark is a true pro. “His call of a Saginaw Spirit hockey game has been recognized by many in the industry as elite,” said Goslin. “His voice paints a vivid picture for the listener of the game action while very eloquently changing his tones to reflect the moment.”


“His demeanor both in the booth and in the office is exceptional,” continued Goslin. “To have his talent, strong character, and work ethic as part of the fabric of the Saginaw Spirit Family is a true blessing to all of us.”

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