The Flint Firebirds have fired their coaches....again (Updated with statement from OHL)
Hey, remember in November when the Flint Firebirds fired coaches John Gruden and Dave Karpa and then hired them back the very next day after owner Rolf Nilsen -- who was upset that his son, defenseman Hakon Nilsen, wasn’t getting enough playing time -- admitted he made “an irresponsible mistake”?
Well, today the Flint Firebirds fired coaches John Gruden and Dave Karpa.
This time, they appear to mean it. According to a press release, the OHL team’s director of hockey ops, Sergei Kharin, will take over head-coaching duties from Gruden.
The Firebirds are last in the West Division with a 16-31-4-2 record, but this is reportedly once again about Hakon Nilsen’s ice time:
Lost in the news is the reasoning behind it, and that is once again that Hakon Nilsen was not getting enough playing time in daddy's eyes— OHLInsiders (@OHLinsiders) February 17, 2016
Supporting that theory, here’s what former Firebird Vincent Scognamiglio had to say about today’s firings:
The Firebirds did share some good news in the same press release that announced Gruden and Karpa had lost their jobs:
Thursday is “College Night!” Featuring $2 beers and $2 hot dogs for all fans in attendance and all college students will receive $2 off tickets with valid ID.
OHL commissioner David Branch has released the following statement:
It has come to the league’s attention that the Flint Firebirds ownership has once again made significant changes to their coaching staff. This change, the manner in which it occurred and the way it was communicated to the players and to the league is of great concern.
We have been in contact with the team captain and it is our intention to meet and communicate with all players and families in short order. The players and their playing experience is of the utmost importance to the league and we will continue to work to ensure that they are treated with respect.
It is the league’s intention to immediately review the actions of the Flint Firebirds before we determine the next steps we will take to address this situation.