Posts Tagged ‘Flint Firebirds’

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. (more…)

Now that we’ve seen part two to the ongoing Flint Firebirds saga, I want to look a bit more into Rolf Nilsen’s motive behind not only hindering the career of twenty or so young men, but buying the team and putting it in Flint, Michigan in the first place.

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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.  (more…)

The Flint Firebirds have named Sergei Kharin Director of Player Personnel. Kharin was brought in last month at the same time as the firing of GM Terry Christensen. Kharin’s role was to act as an advisor/assistant to malintentioned owner Rolf Nilsen. (more…)

A week after the Flint Firebirds announced they have removed the GM title from Terry Christensen and named Head Coach John Gruden the General Manager, the Flint Firebirds have reassigned Assistant Coach Petr Jonak. (more…)

The situation surrounding the Flint Firebirds these last couple days has drawn international attention to the OHL. Let’s take a walk through the events.  (more…)

Following a series of meetings which took place on Monday and included commissioner David Branch, Firebirds owner Rolf Nilsen as well as staff, coaches and players resulted in brand new three year contracts for both John Gruden and Dave Karpa.
This can only be seen as a win for the players. Certainly their organization is not the most stable right now but I do not ever remember a situation where players have come together like this, stood behind their coaches, rebelled against ownership AND came out on top.
Equipment manager Matt Nareski will also be returning to the Firebirds, as will GM Terry Christensen.
As for Hakon Nilsen, a trade in the works has been speculated and brought up to me by many of my sources which I’ve used throughout this developing story.
Carolina Hurricanes prospect, Alex Nedeljkovic, who’s name has been brought up in trade speculation all season reportedly went home last night. There’s no word if he was in today’s meetings or not.

One league source and one source out of Flint, MI tell OHLInsiders that the Flint Firebirds have gone on strike, all coaches have been fired and players have begun walking out.

While the reasoning behind this groundbreaking news remains behind closed doors, one theory is that the owner, assumed to be Rolf Nilson, is/was upset about the amount of playing time his boy Hakon has been receiving, coaching stood their ground and were all fired. The players who stand behind their coaching staff have also begun walking out the door.

I have not been told if anybody remains or where Firebirds management specifically GM Terry Christensen stand. All I have been told is “staff fired and players walking out.”

The Firebirds currently fighting through their third month of OHL regular season competition sit with a record of 7-9-0-1 which is good enough for second last in the western conference.
Regardless of the reasoning behind it, the future does not look bright for OHL hockey in Flint.
UPDATE
The Firebirds owner Rolf Nilsen called his coaching staff to his office while the team was skating with fans shortly after their comeback victory over the reigning OHL champions, Oshawa Generals. It is then that Head Coach, John Gruden and Asst. Coach Dave Karpa were both fired. GM Terry Christensen will be staying with the club.
The selective firing of both Gruden and Karpa were fired as a result of owner Rolf Nilsen’s son Hakon, not receiving enough ice time in the eyes of ownership. There was more than one occasion where GM and owner Rolf Nilsen were coming down pleading with coaches to play him more. They were even asking for PP/PK time.
Following today’s post game skate, the coaches told the players of their news. It is then that all players walked up stairs and handed in their jerseys went to the equipment room and packed their bags.
Keep in mind this could all change at Monday morning’s 8am meeting, but:
Unconfirmed reports have Assistant Coach Petr Jonak among the few staying on board. He billets Rolf Nilsen’s son Hakon. Jonak and Rolf are close friends. Petr was upstairs with GM & Ownership during the game, left very abruptly afterwords as to avoid the mess.
Unconfirmed reports have Equipment Manager, Matt Nareski, also relieved of his duties.
Can this all be fixed with one 8am meeting on Monday morning? Well we’ll see I suppose, but if not I expect GM Terry Christensen to take over the head coaching duties of whatever team he has assembled. Terry had been shooting for the head coaching job since day one and has often overstepped his boundaries as General Manager of the club.

One league source and one source out of Flint, MI tell OHLInsiders that the Flint Firebirds have gone on strike, all coaches have been fired and players have begun walking out.

While the reasoning behind this groundbreaking news remains behind closed doors, one theory is that the owner, assumed to be Rolf Nilson, is/was upset about the amount of playing time his boy Hakon has been receiving, coaching stood their ground and were all fired. The players who stand behind their coaching staff have also begun walking out the door.

I have not been told if anybody remains or where Firebirds management specifically GM Terry Christensen stand. All I have been told is “staff fired and players walking out.”

The Firebirds currently fighting through their third month of OHL regular season competition sit with a record of 7-9-0-1 which is good enough for second last in the western conference.
Regardless of the reasoning behind it, the future does not look bright for OHL hockey in Flint.