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Flint Firebirds fire coaching staff

The Detroit News

The Ontario Hockey League Flint Firebirds have fired head coach John Gruden and assistant Dave Karpa, the team announced Wednesday.

Flint Firebirds president Costa Papista

Sergei Kharin, director of Hockey Operations, will assume the head coaching duties and Petr Jonak will remain as an assistant.

The dismissals are the latest chapter in a turbulent season for the Firebirds, who moved to Flint from Plymouth after being sold by Peter Karmanos Jr.  Rolf Nilsen fired the coaching staff in early November – only for Gruden and Karpa to be rehired 24 hours later – after players staged a walkout.

The Firebirds’ roster includes Red Wings prospect, defenseman Vili Saarijarvi of Finland, who has 10 goals and 22 assists in 44 games. Flint sits in last place in five-team West Division of the OHL Western Conference.