It was a historic winning season for the Flint Firebirds, and their overage players played an integral role in the team’s success while setting the bar for the next crop of talent.
The Firebirds say goodbye to veteran forwards Jake Durham and Jack Phibbs along with netminder Anthony Popovich.
Jake Durham (Flint – 2016-2020)
Fourth-year Firebird Jake Durham certainly had a hand in Flint’s record-setting season. The 5-foot-10 winger stamped his mark in the club’s history books when he skated in his 218th game to become the Firebird with the most regular season games under his belt this past November. He suited up for a total 265 appearances and chipped in for 159 points (75-84—159). Durham’s breakout season came during the 2018-2019 campaign when he put up 35 goals and 59 points, nearly doubling his career goal total up to that point. The product of Port Perry, Ont. was drafted by the Hamilton Bulldogs in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection before signing with the Firebirds in 2016. Currently a free agent, Durham received an invite to participate in in last summer’s NHL Prospects Tournament with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Jack Phibbs (Flint – 2016-2020)
Like his fellow overaged teammate, veteran centreman Jack Phibbs was a Firebird for the entirety of his four-year OHL career. His final season saw his most impressive production at 16 goals and 28 points, more than doubling his previous output and wrapping up his 233-game stint with 58 points to his name (26-32—58). Phibbs was drafted by Flint in the seventh round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection and graduates a free agent.
Anthony Popovich (Guelph, Flint – 2016-2020)
Following his 2019 OHL championship with the Guelph Storm, seasoned goaltender Anthony Popovich headed to Flint for his overage year. He suited up for 47 appearances in net over the course of the season, holding a 24-17-1-0 tally, a .896 save percentage and a 3.63 goals-against average. En route to his championship with the Storm last season, the Belleville, Ont. native made 24 postseason appearances with a 16-7-1-0 record as well as a .894 save percentage and 3.12 goals-against average. He was Guelph’s seventh round pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection, was invited to the Dallas Stars’ development camp last June and has committed to the Queen’s University Gaels men’s hockey program for the upcoming 2020-21 year.
Also sporting the Firebirds jersey are 2000-born players Jack Wismer, Connor Roberts, Dallas Stars prospect Ty Dellandrea, Quinn Yule, St. Louis Blues pick Tyler Tucker, Owen LaLonde, Riley McCourt and Arizona Coyotes draftee Dennis Busby.