So Long, Rolf

Posted: April 6, 2016 by OHLInsiders in Flint Firebirds News, News
Tags: , ,

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)

If it is determined by the League that Rolf Nilsen has violated this Order, the League may order Rolf Nilsen to sell one hundred percent (100%) of the ownership interest of the Flint Firebirds.

Furthermore, Rolf Nilsen may after three (3) years apply for reinstatement to participate in hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds.

During the currency of this Order, the hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds shall be under the stewardship, supervision and direction of the Commissioner.

The Firebirds also announced Joe Birch, who has been in charge of Hockey Operations since February 2016 will remain in that role. No doubt in part to his now secondary role as the OHL’s Director of Hockey Development, he is and will continue to be a big part of getting players and families to one day wish to report to Flint.

I have had conversations with multiple players and staff in Flint and all of them were on edge knowing something in terms of changes were coming to Flint. When it surfaced VIA @OHLInsiders that Sherry Bassin, long time GM of the Erie Otters, could potentially be involved with the operations of the Flint Firebirds the going opinion was something along the lines of, “If Rolf is still owner then it’s totally pointless and a waste of time. If they want kids to report then Rolf has to go, nothing else matters.” Today, it’s “We’re all fired up to move forward now.”

Today’s sanctions against owner Rolf Nilsen is the second last step in getting Rolf to go, and if you refer to above where it says: “If it is determined by the League that Rolf Nilsen has violated this Order, the League may order Rolf Nilsen to sell one hundred percent (100%) of the ownership interest of the Flint Firebirds,” well that would be the final step, and I think today’s fine is as much about punishment to Rolf Nilsen as it is wanting to make stepping away from the OHL and hopefully hockey as a whole, that much more easy. When Nilsen’s five year suspension is over, his son Hakon Nilsen will no longer be eligible to play junior and there will be nothing left for Nilsen to gain from owning and meddling with an OHL hockey team.

Somehow I feel as though I’ll be writing about Rolf Nilsen long before his five year suspension is up.

Your move Rolf

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