FLINT – The Flint Firebirds’ coach Eric Wellwood was recently featured in the Ontario Hockey League’s 20 in 20 series, as he prepares for his first full season behind the bench in Flint. The three-time Memorial Cup Champion took over as coach in October and is looking forward to cultivating the young talent currently on the roster.
However, it was no easy task to tackle. The Firebirds finished 19th in the 20-team OHL a year ago.
“I don’t know that you can step into much tougher of a situation,” said Wellwood of the first few weeks on the job. “I learned a lot. I think I saw some things that some guys who coach over the course of many years never have to deal with.
“I definitely got a crash course on how to handle and deal with some aspects that you won’t typically see on a year-to-year basis.”
Although the team struggled, they really went on a tear down the homestretch.
“Barclay (Branch) and I are extremely pleased with the resiliency of our team,” said Wellwood. “The kids never gave up. It would have been easy for those guys to pack it in when they went home for Christmas with three wins, but they came back, worked hard and our record showed that we made some progress.”
Earlier this month, Flint also dealt forward Jacob Winterton to Oshawa in exchange for a 2023 eight-round pick.
“We would like to thank Jacob for his contributions both on the ice and in the community throughout his time in Flint,” said Flint Firebirds Vice President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Barclay Branch. “We wish Jacob all the best in his future endeavors.”