STATEMENT FROM DAVID BRANCH, OHL COMMISSIONER, CONCERNING FLINT FIREBIRDS

OHL

Toronto, ON – Based upon an investigation at my request by Terrence O’Sullivan of the law firm of Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP, I am satisfied that Rolf Nilsen of the Flint Firebirds has on several occasions violated an agreement he signed on the 11th day of November, 2015, between himself and the OHL.  Those violations are contrary to the best interests of the players, the Team, and the OHL.

In view of these findings, in accordance with the OHL Constitution, I have ordered that:

1)      Rolf Nilsen be suspended by the OHL from being involved directly or indirectly with hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds for five (5) years effective immediately;

 2)      The Flint Firebirds forfeit a first round draft pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection (third pick overall);

3)      A fine be paid by Rolf Nilsen to the League in the amount of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00);

If it is determined by the League that Rolf Nilsen has violated this Order, the League may order Rolf Nilsen to sell one hundred percent (100%) of the ownership interest of the Flint Firebirds.

Furthermore, Rolf Nilsen may after three (3) years apply for reinstatement to participate in hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds.

During the currency of this Order, the hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds shall be under the stewardship, supervision and direction of the Commissioner.

The OHL is pleased to announce that Joe Birch, who has led the Flint Firebirds hockey operations since February, 2016, will continue in his role as Director of Hockey Operations, with a General Manager, Head Coach, and additional hockey operations staff to be appointed in the near future.

I would like to acknowledge the outstanding commitment demonstrated by all Flint Firebirds players, families, and billets during the 2015-16 OHL season.  I would also like to thank the passionate Flint Firebirds fans for their continued support of the team and the OHL.  The League truly appreciates Flint and Genesee County and the efforts made by many to create a positive environment for our players.

The OHL must strive at all times to meet our objectives of providing our players with the support, programs, and tools to ensure they have the best possible experience to grow as people and as players.

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