SAGINAW, Mich. -- Fake news has been very good to the Saginaw Spirit.
The junior hockey club has TV host Stephen Colbert to thank for the sudden interest in the team's jerseys and hats, which now are selling in places as far and wide as California, Ireland and Scotland.
"Our hat sales are up 25 percent over last year, and Stephen Colbert has helped us in a big way by talking about us every week," managing partner Craig Goslin told The Saginaw News.
When the team announced it was seeking a name for its new eagle mascot, Colbert -- host of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central -- began pleading on the air for the Spirit to name it after him.
The team obliged in September, and Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle was born. Colbert showed the mascot's debut on his program and has given weekly updates on the team's progress ever since.
Goslin said the team recently sent 25 jerseys to California -- the largest single jersey order to date. He said a man recognized a Spirit pullover he was wearing in the Atlanta airport recently and told him he was enjoying hearing about the team on the show.
"I gave him my business card and told him how he could order some merchandise," Goslin said. "He said he definitely would."
And the team is pretty good, too. The Spirit is in first place in the West Division of the Ontario Hockey League.