An entire youth hockey team in Flint, Mich. quit after the coaching staff was fired for not giving more playing time to the owner's son.
One by one, all 24 players of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds placed their sweaters on the floor in the front office and quit the team on Sunday night, shortly after owner Rolf Nilsen fired the coaching staff.
A Firebirds spokesman confirmed the story on Sunday night. The news was first reported by @OHLinsiders on Twitter. ...
The exact nature of the firing of head coach John Gruden and assistant coaches Dave Karpa and Petr Jonak could not be immediately confirmed. According to reports, the coaching staff was fired by team owner Nilsen after he voiced his displeasure over a lack of playing time for his son, defenceman Hakon Nilsen. The coaching staff reportedly did not acquiesce to Nilsen, leading to their dismissal and an incensed dressing room. Hakon Nilsen appeared in all three games over the weekend.
The Ontario Hockey League is for players ages 16 to 20. The Firebirds are currently in ninth place in a 10-team conference, so it's possible that the team's lackluster performance could have had at least something to do with the coaching staff being dismissed. But the way the players have revolted would lead you to believe that the issues went far beyond wins and losses.
Whatever the reason was, it appears order has been restored. The team seems to have rectified things by bringing back the coaching staff on new three-year deals. As we've seen with other young athletes recently, they have more power to affect change than perhaps they had previously realized.
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