Sometimes, a hockey transaction leads to little fanfare, or discussion. Sometimes, junior hockey team owners are in it not for the hockey, and more for the chance to give their children an opportunity to play at that level.
Rolf Nilsen is the suspended Owner of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. His hiring and firing, rehiring and firing of staff became one of the more interesting stories of OHL Ownership in recent years. His multi year suspension from actively participating in management of the team that he owns is still mind boggling.
Hakon Nilsen, Rolf Nilsen’s son has been caught in the cross fire ever since being drafted by the team his father owns.
While Hakon Nilsen was a serviceable defenseman as a Midget player, he was not seen by anyone as being an OHL or NHL prospect. A young man who may have been able to play at the Tier II level and potentially at some level of NCAA hockey, was forced into a position he should not have been in.
Instead of being just another player on a team, Hakon Nilsen was thrust into the center of controversy. Instead of taking time to develop and find his own path, Hakon Nilsen was forced into a situation where he could not succeed.
Hakon Nilsen has now left the Flint Firebirds for a tryout opportunity with HC Kladno in the Czech second division.
Rather an anti climatic ending to what was a very big story in the OHL for a year.
One has to wonder what Rolf Nilsen is thinking now. Was it worth the millions of dollars to buy the team in the first place? Was it worth all the bad press for being such a horrific owner? Then again, when you are Rolf Nilsen and money is not an issue, do you even care?
Hakon Nilsen is gone from Flint. Maybe now, he can find his own path. Maybe now the Firebirds can find their own path as well.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher