The owner of the Flint Firebirds has been issued a number of stiff sanctions following an investigation by the Ontario Hockey League.
OHL Commissioner David Branch issued a statement on Wednesday saying that Firebirds owner Rolf Nilsen repeatedly violated an agreement he signed with the OHL. Nilsen was suspended back in February after the team fired its coaching staff for the second time during the 2015/2016 hockey season.
The sanctions include:
• Rolf Nilsen be suspended from direct or indirect involvement with Firebirds hockey operations for five years, effective immediately. Nilsen may apply for reinstatement after three years.
• Fined $250,000, payable to the OHL
• Firebirds must forfeit their first round draft pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection (third overall)
If Nilsen violates the sanctions, the OHL can order him to sell off 100% of the ownership interest of the Flint Firebirds.
In his statement, Branch says Joe Birch, who has led the Firebirds hockey operations since Nilsen’s suspension in February, will continue in his role as director of hockey operations.
A general manager, head coach, and additional hockey operations staff will be appointed in the near future.