Firebirds Re-fire Coaches

Posted: February 17, 2016 by OHLInsiders in Flint Firebirds News, News, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

The Flint Firebirds have re-fired coaches John Gruden and Dave Karpa. The man who was originally brought in as an advisor to owner Rolf Nilsen will take over Gruden’s former Head Coach/General Manager jobs. 

This is not the first time both Karpa and Gruden have been relieved of their duties this season in Flint as their original firings back in November sparked a player walkout before they were rehired and things somehow managed to continue on.

“Nothing changed after the walkout. In fact it got worse from Rolf,” said one source who will remain anonymous during this tense situation. “This is because #4 (Hakon Nilsen) wasn’t getting playing time, simple as that, the owner (Rolf Nilsen) is crazy and doesn’t care about winning, just 4 playing. Thinks 4 will be drafted if he plays.

Firebirds practice was scheduled for 2:30pm and apparently has gone on as scheduled but with no coaches on the ice.

As far as Sergei Kharin goes, “They can’t stand Sergei.”

Stay  tuned!



  1. Gregory says:

    And it wouldn’t be surprising if this ends up in the courts–Nilsen is likely going to sue the league for this to try to reclaim team ownership. It’s likely to end badly for Flint fans and players.. why couldn’t they have found a better owner who doesn’t meddle like this?

    And this is also going to hurt draft stock for many of their top prospects who are NHL eligible.. Bitten’s stock is down because of this issue in Flint.


  2. Hockeyfan1 says:

    This interview that John Gruden recently had with Detroit Free Press, proves that all the information about Gruden and Karpa being fired because of “Hakon Nilsen playing time (owners son)” are false. Gruden admits that he has never been pressured to play Hakon and also never felt pressured that if he doesn’t play him he might loose his job. All the it was is false information from David Branch. David Branch is the real threat to the Flint Firebirds organization because it’s loosing its value and credentials because of the false arguments that he is providing.


  3. hockeyfan says:

    I think every team owner has the right of firing their coaches after winning only 4 of their last 30 games. We see coaches getting fired in the NHL and OHL all the time. Everyone just chooses to see the wrong perspective about this situation because the owners son is on the team. “they say that he fired the coaches because of lack of playing time of his son” That is the most pathetic excuse people can make up for this situation , I would have fired the coaches a long time ago, they have won 4 out of last 30 games, there is perfect and true reason behind the firing of these coaches, and it’s because they simply couldn’t get the job done and get their team to win. That’s what the OHL needs to think about, all the owner is trying to do is to get a better coach for his team so they can be successful. At the end of the day that is what matters getting a coach that can get the players to improve and play up to their best potentials, and Gruden and Karpa couldn’t do that and that is why they got fired.


    • Spencer says:

      Hey Rolf, or Sergei, or whichever one of the brainwashed lunatics who has their finger up Nilsen’s backside is operating this account, let me tell you why you are wrong. Rolf Nilsen is the owner of a hockey team and he doesn’t care about any players on the team except one, and it’s the who shares the same last night. Nilsen has put his petty, selfish desires above the team. I don’t know if you know this, but every few years, a team goes through this thing called a rebuilding process. It’s where you aren’t very good for a few years and you get good young players and build for a great year or two. That’s what Flint should have been. They should have tried to get their young guys to be better and Gruden & Karpa were the men to do that. However, if an owner is going to create this kind of a s**t show, it doesn’t matter who the coach is. You do not know what you are talking about and should be banned from commenting here or anywhere that talks about this situation. Much like Nilsen, Kharin and his ass kissers should be banned from going anywhere near a hockey team ever again.


    • FlintFIrebirdsFan says:

      That would be a fine perspective if it wasn’t their first season where they were left with a low ranked OHL team from Plymouth, you never buy a winning team. Your right in the fact that teams in both OHL and NHL fire their coaches after a bad steak, but you don’t see Babcock fired from the Maple Leafs just because his team is at the bottom of the conference. You have to give a coach a chance to develop a team around him and for him to measure each players skills and where they are best for. This takes time without extra drama, such as trading star players like Nedeljkovic, Wesley, and Chatham. My biggest problem with your perspective is that it would be fine to fire the coaches if the players had lost faith in their ability to drive the team to success. This hasn’t happened though seeing the walkout after the first firing and requiring OHL take over or a potential walkout after the second in fear of their safety. Rofl is a great person in the fact that he brought an OHL team that was supposed to go to Chatham, Ontario to Flint, MI a city that is struggling with so much negativity. That’s where the buck stops thought. Rofl has a ton of money that he doesn’t care what he does with it. That showed in paying off a 3 year contract with Gruden, 2 years early within two months of signing it. We need an owner with Rofl’s generosity with finances but also that is willing to the staff that they hire to do their job and prove their worth.

      Flint needs this team and is passionate about hockey. Excitement was building with fans even though the team was losing. With all this bad publicity, it’s giving the Firebird’s organization and the OHL a black eye after so many great things they have done for the community. Now fans are worried the team will be sold and moved (more than likely Chatham, Ontario). I hope and pray that the team stays in Flint next year and many more, but things need to change; the fans know that, the players know that, and the OHL knows that.

      Go FLINT Firebirds! We support the players!


  4. hockeyfan says:

    So an owner comes to one of the hardest hit cities in the United States, implements a team, becomes an asset to the community, spends an enormous amount of money upgrading a facility, Spurs economic development, etc.
    He fires the coaches after a 4-30 streak and now he is the bad guy ?!

    Thank you Rolf Nilsen for bringing some prosperity to a much needed community. Keep up the good fight – it’s your money.


  5. hockeyfan says:

    Hello Matt…How is the bus ride today MATT!


  6. Jason Pearson says:

    I feel sorry for these players. This experience is ruining any chance of development. This will backfire on Rolf Nilsen won’t have any players next season and certainly no scouts to watch his son play.


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