Count Cole Perfetti as one of the many that are excited about the hiring of Scott Arniel as the new head coach of the Winnipeg Jets.

The 22-year-old forward currently is in Saginaw, Michigan for the Memorial Cup as his former junior team is hosting Perfetti along with other Spirit alumni this week during the tournament.

“Arnie was great with me. We had a really good relationship and I thought I played some of my best hockey under him when he took over for Bones (Rick Bowness) for a bit so those 12 games there. I thought I really came out and played well and felt like he trusted me and gave me opportunity so I'm excited for it,” said Perfetti.

“He’s obviously such a nice guy, cares about us and has a lot of really good relationships with a lot of the players. So, I think it's going to be a great fit and he already knows the system and knows us all very well.”

Perfetti also likes the idea of the easy transition from Bowness to Arniel.

“Arnie already knows what our system is, and he might change a couple of minor things here and there but the general area of the game and the gameplan is pretty much the same,” said Perfetti.

“So, I think it's gonna make that transition that much easier. So, I think it's good for us.”

Tonight, Perfetti will be at the final game of the round robin of the Memorial Cup that features the 2-0 Spirit and the 2-0 London Knights. Perfetti returns to the Dow Event Center where he starred for two seasons, recording 185 points (74 G, 111 A) from 2018-2020.

“Once I stepped back into that rink, it's gonna feel pretty weird but also bring back all the good memories and nostalgic feelings. It's gonna be, there's a lot of good times in that building and a lot of good memories,” said Perfetti.

“So, I'm excited for I can't wait to see it and it's gonna bring back a lot of good times and I'm looking forward to it.”

One of Perfetti’s favourite memories from his junior days came during the 2018-19 season. The Spirit finished second in the OHL’s Western Conference with a 45-17-3-3 record in his first major junior season. Saginaw advanced all the way to the West Final before falling to the eventual league champion Guelph Storm in seven games.

“Game 2, we were down 4-3 with like a minute left, or whatever. We tied the game up and it was the loudest I've ever heard a building. Obviously until you get to the white out, it was the loudest thing I've ever heard in my life. NHL playoffs are a little bit more amplified. But it was it was incredibly loud,” said Perfetti.

“Then Ryan McLeod who plays for the Oilers right now, he ended up scoring the overtime winner for us a couple minutes into the overtime and I thought the place was going to fall down like with the amount of noise and chaos that was going on when he scored it was unbelievable stuff. That was one memory, that game. I'll never forget that game. It’s too bad we didn’t win that series because I think we would have won the league.”

On top of the memories on the ice with Saginaw, the Jets forward also has fantastic things to say about the city as well. The city of just over 44 thousand people is just a 90-minute drive from Detroit.

“A great experience. A great time, we had a good team and a lot of guys that I'm still close with, I'm biased. But it was it was a great town. They obviously love their football and that it's like a religion in the U.S., but they love hockey there, too. And I think it's becoming bigger and bigger. Every year, they're getting more attached to the Spirit. They're getting better and better and more relevant in the league,” said Perfetti.

“It's a place, you want to play there. So, it's exciting, and I'm happy for the team, happy for the organization. And I hope more people realize that Saginaw might not get the best rep ever. But I think it is a great town for junior hockey.”