Report: OHL's Flint Firebirds fire coaching staff, players walk out

The Flint Firebirds reportedly fired their coaching staff following a game against the Oshawa Generals (pictured above) on Sunday. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty

The Ontario Hockey League was seized by drama on Sunday night. The newly formed Flint Firebirds reportedly fired their coaching staff following the team's come-from-behind win over the Oshawa Generals on Sunday night, and displeased players responded by confronting management and subsequently quitting the team, several media outlets reported.

According to Yahoo! Canada, one of the issues management had was related to owner Rolf Nilsen's displeasure with the playing time his son, Hakon Nilsen, received. Hakon Nilsen was reportedly among the players to walk out.

The Firebirds' (former) coach, John Gruden, is a former NHL player who spent parts of six seasons with the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals. Gruden was hired by the Firebirds on March 26, 2015 and is the organization's first coach in its new Flint location. The organization was formerly known as the Plymouth Whalers and was based out of Plymouth, Mich., from 1997-2015.

The OHL is a junior league for players ranging in age from 16-20. The Firebirds roster has five players whose rights are owned by NHL teams: Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes), Alex Peters (Dallas Stars), Vili Saarijärvi (Detroit Red Wings), Josh Wesley (Carolina Hurricanes) and Connor Chatham (New Jersey Devils).

The walkout has apparently caught the attention of OHL commissioner David Branch.

Dominic Henning, Director of Broadcasting and Communications for the Firebirds, issued a comment to USA Today on his personal thoughts regarding the situation.

"I have never met a coach who motivates his team and has their best interest like Coach Gruden does," Henning told USA Today. "It is an honor to work with that coaching staff and the group of guys in that locker room."

(h/t USA Today, Yahoo! Canada)

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