Spitfires Hire Former Spitfire Goaltender Michael Leighton as Goaltending Coach


The Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club is excited to announce Michael Leighton as the clubs’ new goaltending coach.

At age 16, Leighton played for the Petrolia Jets Jr.B. team of the Ontario Hockey Association’s Western Ontario Hockey League before being drafted by the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)’s Windsor Spitfires in the third round, 56th overall, of the 1998 OHL Priority Selection. Leighton played for the Spitfires for three seasons from 1998-2001. Through 3 seasons Leighton played in 124 games for the club and recorded a 3.56 GAA and a save percentage of 89%. In his 2nd season with the Spitfires, Leighton was drafted to the NHL in the 1999 NHL Entry draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in round 6 #195 overall.

Leighton played two seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL) for the Norfolk Admirals before making his NHL debut on January 8, 2003. He became the first Blackhawks player to record a shutout in his debut. Leighton professional career spanned across 20 seasons in the NHL with the Blackhawks, Hurricanes, Flyers, and Predators. As well as time spent across the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals, Rochester Americans, Portland Pirates, Philadelphia/Adirondack Phantoms, Albany River Cats, Rockford Ice Hogs, Charlotte Checkers, Syracuse Crunch, Chicago Wolves, Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Ontario Reign and Utica Comets. Also, Leighton spent one season in the KHL with Donbas HC during 2013-14.

Leighton has many accolades across hockey including:

  • NHL record for most shutouts in one Stanley Cup Playoffs series: 3, in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens (tied with several other goalies)
  • Norfolk Admirals franchise record for most career regular season wins: 75
  • Norfolk Admirals franchise record for most career regular season shutouts: 18
  • First goaltender in Chicago Blackhawks history to record a shutout in his debut
  • Most saves in an AHL game: 98
  • HC Donbass franchise record for most regular season shutouts in a season: 6
  • HC Donbass franchise record for most career regular season shutouts: 6
  • Played in the second longest game in AHL history, as well as the second longest game in KHL history
  • AHL record for most career shutouts: 50

Leighton spoke on rejoining the Spitfires after 20 years as a pro.

“It is very exciting; I have always wanted to get into coaching since retiring.” Leighton said. “What better way to do it with the Spitfires.”

GM Bill Bowler spoke on the acquisition of Leighton to the clubs’ staff.

“We are proud to welcome former Spitfire Michael Leighton back to our organization to join our staff as the goalie coach.” Bowler said. “With Mike’s decorated OHL and professional career, I am confident he will bring that same success to his new position.”

Welcome back, Michael Leighton!

For media inquires, please contact:

Nick Welsh | Communications & Media Coordinator |

Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club
WFCU Centre
8787 McHugh Street | Windsor, Ontario | N8S 0A1
W. 519-254-5000 ext 221

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