Flint unveils Firebirds

Monday March 16, 2015

Flint, MI – After weeks of careful consideration and public participation, IMS Hockey Corp., who purchased the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey league (OHL) in January, has settled on a name for the forthcoming Flint OHL hockey team.

The new Flint hockey team will be known as the Flint Firebirds. The name was a suggestion from lifelong Genesee County resident and hockey fan Tom Barden. “Once I saw that ‘Phoenix’ was out, I thought that ‘Firebirds’ was similar. It still means ‘Rising from the ashes.’” The 67-year-old General Motors retiree has seen his community change in many ways since he first bought season tickets to the International Hockey League’s Flint Generals in the 1970s, but he sees current trends in Flint, including IMS Hockey Corp.’s dedication to bringing top-notch hockey to Flint, as “a step in the right direction.” Barden states “I’ve seen good times and the bad, and we’re seeing the good again.”

President of IMS Hockey Corp. Costa Papista explains, “When we saw the suggested moniker ‘Firebirds,’ we recognized that it bore a meaning outside of hockey. Flint is a community that has been built and sustained on the fierce resilience of its residents, and we see the Firebird as a symbol of that resilience.”

In folklore, the Firebird represents an object of freedom, and obtaining a Firebird is often the objective in a difficult journey. For this reason, the team sees the name Flint Firebirds as a title that goes beyond hockey, bearing a greater significance for the city. “Flint has pulled through a difficult journey, and is now standing on the verge of great potential and promise,” says Papista. “We see a revival happening in Flint. It’s the very reason why we chose to be a part of this community in the first place.”

After IMS Hockey Corp.’s acquisition of the Perani Arena this past December, followed by the OHL’s approval of the Plymouth Whalers purchase and the start of season ticket sales in February, the Flint Firebirds will now have all the right things in place to kick off a memorable inaugural season, which is scheduled to begin this September at the Perani Arena. Flynnagain Productions of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada have designed the logo and uniform of the new Firebirds. CCM-Reebok also contributed to the uniform design and color coordination.

IMS Hockey Corp. owner, Rolf Nilsen is excited to get things underway with the new team. “We are immensely honored to be a part of Flint and Genesee County, and we desire to build a team that the community can be proud of; a team whose impact will be felt far beyond the ice of the Perani Arena.”

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