The Flint Spirits joined the IHL for the 1985-86 season, as the Flint Generals had departed for Saginaw during the summer of '85. The Spirits only started in August as a response to the Generals leaving, and thus were left with about two months to put a team together.
The rag-tag 1985-86 Spirits weren't great on the ice or off. Attendance was slim and the team only managed 16 wins in 82 games. It looked like the team would even go under mid-way through the season, but was saved by a group of local investors. They did make it through the first season and kept going for four more.
For their second season, the Spirits added Rick Dudley as coach. He had just come off two ACHL championships with the Carolina Thunderbirds and would go on to the NHL later in his career. The Spirits won 42 games in their season second season, with future NHLer Hubie McDonough as their second leading scorer. They would even make the playoffs.
Year three saw their best run, as the Spirits would have future big leaguer John Cullen lead the team with a whopping 157 points. Future NHL GM Don Waddell was also a standout, recording 75 points as a defensemen. The Spirits would make it all the way to the IHL Finals, losing in six to Salt Lake.
After two more seasons in Flint, the Spirits were sold as part of a musical chairs in the hockey world. As the Fort Wayne Comets made their ill-fated move to Albany, NY, to become the Albany Choppers, that left the long-time hockey city of Fort Wayne without a team. Thus, a group of investors from Indiana would purchase the Spirits and move them into Fort Wayne to become the Komets.
Other notable Spirits alumni include Peter Laviolette, Mike Richter, and Val James.