The Ontario Hockey League has suspended Flint Firebirds owner Rolf Nilsen from hockey operations, a day after the team fired its coaching staff for the second time this season.
Head coach and general manager John Gruden and assistant coach Dave Karpa were fired on Wednesday.
Director of hockey operations Sergei Kharin was named interim head coach and assistant coach Petr Jonak was retained.
Back on November 8th, the Firebirds fired Gruden, Karpa and Jonak before reinstating them the next day.
The OHL said in a statement Thursday that "The recent actions by the owner of the Flint Firebirds, Rolf Nilsen, and his representatives on the management team and coaching staff is of great concern as they pose a serious threat to our commitment to our players and their families.''
In addition to Nilsen's suspension, the league suspended his appointees on the management and coaching staff, including Kharin, until further notice.
The Firebirds have also been ordered to provide counselling services for players under the direction of the league.
League officials planned to meet with the players in Flint later Thursday to discuss the situation.
The Firebirds are scheduled to play the Erie Otters on Thursday night.
STATEMENT FROM DAVID BRANCH, OHL COMMISSIONER
The Ontario League takes the health and well being of our players very seriously. The recent actions by the owner of the Flint Firebirds Rolf Nilsen and his representatives on the management team and coaching staff is of great concern as they pose a serious threat to our commitment to our players and their families.
The league announces the following sanctions effective immediately:
Mr Nilsen and his appointees on the management and coaching staff including Sergei Kharin are suspended from Flint Firebirds’ hockey operations until further notice;
The Flint Firebirds at their cost, under the direction of the League, shall provide counselling services for players;
Rolf Nilsen and representatives of the Flint Firebirds shall co-operate with the Commissioner and the League in investigations into the conduct and actions of the Flint Firebirds and its representatives, employees, officers and directors;
In addition, the League will continue to investigate the actions of Rolf Nilsen and other representatives of the Flint Firebirds and will take any action and impose any sanctions that are deemed appropriate by the Commissioner.
Later today, the League will be meeting with the players in Flint to further discuss the situation, and to ensure that they are provided the appropriate supports.
These discussions and supports will be ongoing for the players and their families.