|League||Ontario Hockey League|
|Home arena||Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center|
|General manager||George Burnett|
|Head coach||Ryan Oulahen|
|1990–92||Detroit Compuware Ambassadors|
|1992–95||Detroit Junior Red Wings|
The Flint Firebirds are a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League that began play in Flint for the 2015–16 season. Based in Flint, Michigan in the United States, the Firebirds play their home games at the Perani Arena and Event Center.
Coming to FlintEdit
The Firebirds trace their roots back to the 1990–91 season, when the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors were added as an expansion team in the OHL. Since then the franchise has been the Detroit Junior Red Wings, the Detroit Whalers, and the Plymouth Whalers.
On January 14, 2015, it was announced that longtime Whalers owner Peter Karmanos had sold the team to IMS USA, Inc., with the intention to move the franchise to Flint and the Perani Arena. The purchase and relocation was approved by the OHL on February 2, 2015.
2015-16 Coaching/Ownership IssuesEdit
On November 8th, the owner of the Flint Firebirds fired the head coach, John Gruden after the team pulled out a come from behind overtime victory over the defending Memorial Cup champions earlier. According to published reports the issue was the amount of ice time that owner, Rolf Nilson's 17 year old son was receiving. Upon hearing of the removal of the coach the whole 24 members of the team quit, not wanting to play for anyone else but Coach Gruden. Among those quitting the team were the owner's son, Håkon Nilsen. The whole team went into the team's front office and threw their jerseys on the ground, quit the team and then walked out. OHL commissioner David Branch was scheduled to meet with the ownership of the franchise on Monday November 9th to try to salvage anything out of what is a very bad situation for all involved. After the meeting the owner issued a release through the OHL's website stating that he made "an irresponsible mistake" and the coaches were reinstated and meetings were held between the league commissioner, ownership, coaches and players.
The Firebirds organization made news headlines again on February 17th when the owner fired Coach (and now GM since January) Gruden and assistant coach Dave Karpa and named director of operations Sergei Kharin interim head coach. The way the handling of the terminations was handled (mainly involving communication to the players and the league) has lead to the league looking into the terminations. Commissioner Branch was in contact with the team's captain, Alex Peters and was planning on meeting with the rest of the players and parents within a few days. At the time of the firings the team was in 9th place in the conference with a 11-31-6 record and lost 8 of their last ten games. The team was actually on a pace for a better record than in 2014-15.
The league made the following announcements after the initial phase of their investigation: The owner and his appointees on the management and coaching staff (including interim coach Sergei Kharin). The team is to provide counseling services for the players and that the management team is to co-operate with the commissioner and the league for the rest of the investigation. The league and the commissioner have said they will take any appropriate actions to remedy the situation.
On April 6, 2016 the league announced that owner Rolf Nilsen was suspended for five years and fined $250,000 as a result of an investigation conducted by the league. The report stated that Nilsen had violated an agreement he signed with the league on November 11, 2015. The team was also penalized with the forfeiture of the team's first round pick in the OHL Priority Selection (the third pick overall in the draft). The release stated if Nilsen violates any of the terms of the order from the league he will be required to sell 100% of his ownership interest in the Firebirds. Nilsen may file for re-instatement to participate in hockey operations after 3 years. The league further announced that Joe Birch who took over the hockey operations in February will continue in the position and additional staff (head coach, GM, and other hockey operational staff) would be named shortly. The team will continue to be under the stewardship, supervision and direction of the league commissioner.
Although there was sentiment towards resurrecting the Flint Generals nickname which had been used by two past teams in the city, the OHL quickly nixed that idea because of the Oshawa Generals using that name. Likewise, a popular suggestion was the Flint Tropics, after the fictional American Basketball Association team of that name in the 2008 movie Semi-Pro. However, after various others voiced their displeasure at their team possibly being named after a comedy movie's protagonist team, and the chance of the novelty wearing off after a while, the name did not make the list of finalist choices.
- 1990–91 Paul Mitton
- 1991 Mark Lawrence (traded)
- 1991–93 Pat Peake
- 1993–95 Jamie Allison
- 1995–96 Bryan Berard
- 1996–97 Mike Morrone
- 1997–98 Andrew Taylor
- 1998–00 Randy Fitzgerald
- 2000–02 Jared Newman
- 2002–03 Nate Kiser
- 2003–04 James Wisniewski
- 2004–05 Tim Sestito (home) & John Mitchell (away & playoffs)
- 2005–06 John Vigilante
- 2006–07 Steve Ward
- 2007–08 Andrew Fournier (home & playoffs) & Chris Terry (away)
- 2008–09 Chris Terry
- 2009–10 AJ Jenks
- 2010–12 Beau Schmitz
- 2012–13 Colin MacDonald
- 2013–14 Nick Malysa
- 2014–present Alex Peters
First round NHL Entry Draft picksEdit
Players who were drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft while playing for the Firebirds franchise.
- 1991: Pat Peake, 14th Overall, Washington Capitals
- 1993: Todd Harvey, 9th Overall, Dallas Stars
- 1995: Bryan Berard, 1st Overall, Ottawa Senators
- 1998: David Legwand, 2nd Overall, Nashville Predators
- 2000: Justin Williams, 28th Overall, Philadelphia Flyers
- 2001: Stephen Weiss, 4th Overall, Florida Panthers
- 2010: Tyler Seguin, 2nd Overall, Boston Bruins
- 2011: Stefan Noesen, 21st Overall, Ottawa Senators
- 2011: Rickard Rakell, 30th Overall, Anaheim Ducks
- 2012: Tom Wilson, 16th Overall, Washington Capitals
- 2013: Ryan Hartman, 30th Overall, Chicago Blackhawks
Second round NHL Entry Draft picksEdit
Players who were drafted in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft while playing for the Firebirds franchise.
- 1993: Jamie Allison, 44th Overall, Calgary Flames
- 1995: Nic Beaudoin, 51st Overall, Colorado Avalanche
- 1997: Harold Druken, 36th Overall, Vancouver Canucks
- 2000: Tomas Kurka, 32nd Overall, Carolina Hurricanes
- 2000: Libor Ustrnul, 42nd Overall, Atlanta Thrashers
- 2000: Kris Vernarsky, 51st Overall, Toronto Maple Leafs
- 2003: David Liffiton, 63rd Overall, Colorado Avalanche
- 2005: James Neal, 33rd Overall, Dallas Stars
- 2007: Jeremy Smith, 54th Overall, Nashville Predators
A complete list of team records can be found here.
|Team records for a single season|
|Most goals for||330||1992–93|
|Least goals for||184||2015-16|
|Least goals against||162||1998–99|
|Most goals against||378||1990–91|
|Individual player records for a single season|
|Most goals||Chad LaRose||61||2002–03|
|Most assists||Kevin Brown||91||1992–93|
|Most points||Bob Wren||145||1992–93|
|Most points, rookie||David Legwand||105||1997-98|
|Most points, defenseman||Bill McCauley||102||1994–95|
|Most PIM||David Benn||305||1991–92|
|Best GAA (goalie)||Robert Holsinger||2.08||1998–99|
|Most wins (goalie)||Rob Zepp||36||1999–2000|
|Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played|
Top scorers in the history of the franchise.Edit
Legend: OL = Overtime loss, SL = Shootout loss
- 2016 Did Not Qualify
- 2017 Lost in Conference quarterfinals 4 games to 1 to Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
- 2018 Did Noy Qualify
- ↑ McMann, Aaron (January 14, 2015). Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers moving to Flint in 2015-16 season. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ Whalers announce relocation plans. Ontario Hockey League (January 14, 2015). Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ McMann, Aaron (February 2, 2015). It's official: Ontario Hockey League approves Plymouth Whalers' move to Flint. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ OHL Board of Governors Approve Transfer of Ownership and Relocation to Flint. Ontario Hockey League (February 2, 2015). Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ McMann, Aaron (January 21, 2015). Hoping for a return of the Flint Generals name? OHL commissioner says it's not happening. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ McMann, Aaron (March 2, 2015). Name expected soon for Flint's OHL team; you still like 'Flint Tropics'. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ Heller, Andrew (February 11, 2015). Come Heller high water: Please don't call the hockey team the Flint Tropics. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ McMann, Aaron (February 13, 2015). Anti-'Tropics' crowd growing as naming contest for Flint's new OHL team ends. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ McMann, Aaron (February 26, 2015). Poll: Which of the 10 registered names do you like best for Flint's new OHL team?. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- ↑ McMann, Aaron (March 16, 2015). 'Flint Firebirds' unveiled as name for Flint's new OHL team. MLive.com. The Flint Journal. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
- Flint Firebirds Official web site
- Ontario Hockey League Official web site
- Canadian Hockey League Official web site
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Flint Firebirds. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).|