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Canadian Press
Nov 2, 2006, 10:32 PM EST


SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - 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 per cent over last year, and Stephen Colbert has helped us in a big way by talking about us every week," Craig Goslin, the Spirit's managing partner, told The Saginaw News for a story this week.

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.

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