It is well documented the mess that unfolded in Flint, Michigan last year with the Flint Firebirds. The team’s crooked leadership has made it possible for the London Knights to bring in Tyler Johnson, who at one point was among the most highly touted American goaltenders for last year’s NHL Entry Draft.

Tyler Johnson was drafted by the former Plymouth Whalers in the 7th round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selection and signed with the Whalers before they moved to Flint and became the Firebirds. Flint GM Terry Christensen at one point was quoted saying “Tyler Johnson has no future in hockey,” because he already had a vested interest in Kyle Keyser who had played for Terry for years at little Caesars. Terry then put Tyler on unconditional waivers and released him, despite being an NHL prospect.

Because Tyler signed in the OHL, he lost his NCAA eligibility and following his release, entered into a long battle with the NCAA to gain back his eligibility.

University of Maine compliance officers felt as though he had a strong enough case to be reinstated that they advised Maine coaching staff to continue to recruit him. He was offered a scholarship and verbally committed. Tyler’s NCAA reinstatement conditions however, remained up in the air. If granted, Johnson would have continued down the NCAA route.

Following complications with their NCAA appeal. Tyler Johnson was not reinstated and the London Knights began recruiting Johnson.

“He will be in London next season,” said one source close to the situation.

This is not the first time Johnson has been touted by an OHL team. Last year, it was the Mississauga Steelheads looking to sign him as James Boyd was looking for somebody to take over from Jack Flinn once his time in the OHL came to an end.

The North Bay Battalion and GM Stan Butler are actively searching for a goaltender they can lean on to take the majority of games this year according to a Battalion source.

The widespread belief is that the Battalion would like to use 2015 draft pick Mathew Woroniuk in a back up role this year and would like nothing more than to pair him up with an OHL veteran netminder as a stop gap until Woroniuk can take the reigns in 2017-2018. The Battalion did have a local Jr A netminder in mind but those talks have seemed to cooled off.

“They would like an OA because the (goalie) market is slim and an OA comes cheaper than another 1997 born.”

It is believed that last year’s netminder Jake Kment will not be brought back by the Battalion, although there is still quite a bit of time before the Battalion’s OHL season starts on September 23 for Stan Butler to test the market and reconsider with Kment.

Some Options

Matthew Mancina (Peterborough Petes) – Mancina has to be seen as the home run get for the North Bay Battalion pending price of course. In Peterborough, Dylan Wells & Scott Smith are waiting in the wings. New York Rangers would like Wells to play. 127 games played.

Brent Moran (Flint Firebirds) – One of the more likely options in my opinion. Moran would bring the experience the Battalion are searching for and Moran’s current situation in Flint is not ideal for Moran with youngens Keyser, Menna eager. 154 games played.

Cameron Zanussi (Brantford 99ers) – Already signed and approved in Brantford of the GOJHL, Zanussi’s rights alone could come cheap from the Saginaw Spirit. Perhaps not the amount of OHL experience the Battalion are searching for however. 36 games played.

Jeremy Brodeur (Oshawa Generals) – With the recent signing of Nathan Torchia and Logan Gauthier waiting in the wings, Brodeur may be expendable. Generals are in a similar predicament to the Battalion in the sense that they would like a veteran as a stop gap until next year when either Gauthier/Torchia can take over, they have that veteran in Brodeur. I wouldn’t hold my breath on this option. 79 games played.

Dawson Carty (Kitchener Rangers) – One of the most appealing overage names in the league after turning heads with his 2015-2016 campaign would be a great fit with the Battalion as he brings a ton of experience. However, Kitchener Rangers GM Murray Hiebert has indicated to me that Carty is not to be had for now.



Thank You Overagers

Posted: April 28, 2016 by OHLInsiders in News, Uncategorized
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For fans of Canadian Major Junior Hockey, five years seems like it goes by so slow. I can’t speak for you but it feels like I’ve been watching players such as Charlie Graham and Hunter Garlent for a lot longer than the five years they’ve actually been around in the OHL. Read the rest of this entry »

The Guelph Storm announced the selection of defender Ryan Merkley with their 1st Overall Selection in what is actually Saturday’s OHL Draft. The Storm did so at a news conference held at the Sleeman Center on Friday morning.

Read the rest of this entry »

Take this as you will, but an email sent to me early Thursday morning mentions that the Niagara IceDogs could be looking to change the structure of the team’s ownership. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hamilton Bulldogs announced recently that the team has parted ways with longtime franchise GM/Head Coach George Burnett. George had been with the Bulldogs franchise since 2004-2005 back (not that long ago) when the team was known as the Belleville Bulls. Read the rest of this entry »

OHLInsiders Mock Draft #1 – #8

Posted: April 6, 2016 by OHLInsiders in 2016 OHL Draft

1st Overall: Guelph Storm – Ryan Merkley
2nd Overall: Sudbury Wolves – Owen Lalonde

3rd Overall: Flint Firebirds – Pavel Gogolev
4th Overall: Hamilton Bulldogs – Giovanni Vallati
5th Overall: Flint Firebirds – Sergey Popov
6th Overall: Saginaw Spirit – Connor Roberts
7th Overall: Oshawa Generals – Jack McBain
8th Overall: Mississauga Steelheads – Kirill Nizhnikov


So long Rolf Nilsen.

The Ontario Hockey League and commissioner David Branch has announced the following sanctions against the Flint Firebirds and owner Rolf Nilsen.

  • Rolf Nilsen be suspended by the OHL from being involved directly or indirectly with hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds for five (5) years effective immediately;
  • The Flint Firebirds forfeit a first round draft pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection (third pick overall);
  • A fine be paid by Rolf Nilsen to the League in the amount of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00)

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The story surrounding the Flint Firebirds inaugural season playing in the Ontario Hockey  League has been well documented by international media. Since the second go around firing both John Gruden and Dave Karpa, the OHL now runs the Firebirds day to day operations. Read the rest of this entry »

OHL Alumnus Trojanovic Faces Multiple Charges

Posted: February 23, 2016 by OHLInsiders in News, Uncategorized

An email received late Tuesday night, names former Peterborough Petes defender Steven Trojanovic as the subject of the following allegation. Read the rest of this entry »