Saginaw Spirit and Barrie Colt Alumnus is Champion in Finland

michal birner tps finland sm-liiga hockeyMichal Birner played two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, 2004-05 and 2005-06. His first season in the OHL was split between the Barrie Colts and the Saginaw Spirit. His final season in the Ontario Hockey League was played exclusively with Saginaw. While with Saginaw, he set the team’s mark for the fastest three goals scored.

Over the 2005-06 season, Birner was second on Saginaw Spirit scoring during the regular season, three points behind team leader Ryan McDonough. However, Michal played eight less games during the season. The missed games were in part due to Birner representing his native Czech Republic at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships (under-20) that were played in Canada. The Czechs left the tournament without a medal.

Birner also represented the Czech Republic on the international stage earlier on in his hockey career when he was on the roster for the 2004 IIHF World Under-18 Championships. Michal contributed five points in seven games as the Czech’s won bronze with a win over Canada in Belarus.

Birner was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the fourth round of the 2004 NHL draft, 116th overall. He spent his first full season after graduating from the Ontario Hockey League with the Blues’ AHL farm team, the Peoria Rivermen. The following season, he started with Peoria and ended with the Portland Pirates. In 2008-09, he played two games with the AHL’s Iowa Chops before being demoted to the ECHL. Birner chose not to report and instead signed with Pelicans of Finland’s SM-Liiga.

Michal’s season with Pelicans lasted only six games and he was sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken hand. This past season, he remained in the SM-Liiga but with TPS, a storied team that has been around since 1929 (as a sports club, TPS has been around since 1922). His 45 regular season points with TPS was good enough for third on the team in scoring, only four points from the leader. More importantly, TPS won the league championship.

Birner is signed on with TPS for the upcoming 2010-11 season.

Check out Michal Birner’s profile page on the TPS official website.

Check out this recent post on Michal’s teammate with the Spirit, Patrick Asselin.


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