Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Flache to the Flint Firebirds Hockey Operations Department in the position of Associate Coach.
“On behalf of the Ontario Hockey League, we are pleased that Paul Flache has agreed to join the coaching staff of the Flint Firebirds,” said Joe Birch, OHL Senior Director of Hockey Development and Special Events. “His experience gained through training and developing young players will be a great asset to the team. Paul is a great addition to a strong coaching staff and we look forward to seeing his work both on and off-ice with the Firebird players.”
Effective immediately, Flache joins the club in place of Eric Wellwood who is leaving the organization to pursue a new career outside of hockey.
“Over the last decade Eric Wellwood has made contributions to the league both as a player and on the coaching staff for two teams,” added Birch. “He has been a consummate team player and we are sorry to see him leave the game. He joined the Flint Firebirds at a critical time and worked closely with the staff and players on their development and the Firebirds are stronger for it.”
A 27-year-old from Windsor, Ont., Wellwood won three Memorial Cups, two as a player with the Windsor Spitfires and one behind the bench with the Oshawa Generals as an Assistant Coach before joining the Firebirds for the 2016-17 season.
“Eric Wellwood has been a great asset to the Flint Firebirds, sharing with our players both his love of the game and his understanding of the key elements of player development gained through playing and coaching in the OHL,” said Flint Firebirds General Manager Barclay Branch. “While we are disappointed to see him leave hockey, we wish him the very best in his exciting new career developing apps.”
“I’m thankful to the Flint Firebirds organization for giving me the opportunity to work with such a fantastic staff and hard-working team” said Wellwood. “I had a great time working with the players this season, their character and resilience makes me confident that the club is building an incredible program. I look forward to taking what I have learned throughout my coaching career into the private business sector and wish the Firebirds organization the best of luck in the upcoming season.”
Flache, a 35-year-old Toronto native and OHL alumnus, has coaching and player development experience gained through over a decade operating elite training facilities and coaching Tier 1 elite players with the TPH Thunder organization. Flache played three seasons in the OHL for the Brampton Battalion from 1999-2002 then spent 10 seasons playing professional hockey in the AHL, ECHL and in Germany. He is also graduate of Toronto’s York University.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Flint Firebirds organization and look forward to working with this exciting and talented groups of players on their development and growth,” said Flache. “As an OHL alumnus I have seen firsthand how this league provides the players with a pathway to develop and advance both on and off the ice. I cannot wait to get started and help contribute to the culture that is being built in Flint.”
“Over the last decade Paul Flache has worked closely with players on their training, development and coaching,” added Branch. “This, teamed with his own experience as an OHL player, is a winning combination that will help further strengthen our team both on and off the ice. We welcome Paul to the team and look forward to introducing him to our players, their families, staff and the great hockey fans in Flint and Genesee County.”
For more information please visit www.flintfirebirds.com.