When it comes to minor hockey in North America, the Flint Firebirds have certainly made their mark in the history books. Founded in 2015, the Firebirds quickly became a favorite amongst hockey fans, with their passion, grit, and determination on the ice. Over the years, the team has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but through it all, they have remained a true force to be reckoned with. As we take a trip down memory lane, let’s look back at the Firebirds’ historic seasons and relive some of their greatest moments.
The Rise of the Firebirds
The Flint Firebirds may be a relatively young team, but they have made a significant impact on the minor hockey scene. The team’s roots can be traced back to the Plymouth Whalers, a team that had a successful run in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) from 1990 to 2015. However, in 2013, the Plymouth Whalers were sold and relocated to Flint, Michigan, where they were renamed the Flint Firebirds.
In their inaugural season, the Firebirds faced many challenges, both on and off the ice. The team finished eighth in their division and failed to make it to the playoffs. However, this did not damper their spirits, and the Firebirds continued to work hard and improve with each game. In the following season, they made history by becoming the first Flint-based team to make it to the playoffs in 29 years.
As the Firebirds continued to make their mark in the OHL, they also went on to break some remarkable records. In the 2017-2018 season, they set a franchise record for the most regular-season wins, with 26 victories. This feat was followed by an incredible playoff run, where they made it to the second round, which was the furthest they had ever progressed in the playoffs.
The following season was one for the books, as the Firebirds went on to break not one but two franchise records. They set a new record for the most regular-season wins with 38 victories and also recorded the highest goals-per-game average in the team’s history. Additionally, three of their players were selected in the 2019 NHL draft, proving the team’s prowess on the ice.
The Road to the Championship
The 2019-2020 season was undoubtedly the most significant season in the Flint Firebirds’ history. Led by captain Ty Dellandrea, the team had their sights set on the championship title. And they did not disappoint. They finished the regular season with the most points in franchise history and secured their spot in the playoffs. The Firebirds went on to dominate the playoffs, winning their first-ever playoff series and making it all the way to the OHL final. In the end, they were crowned the Western Conference Champions, a historic achievement for the team.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OHL final was canceled, and the Firebirds were unable to compete for the championship title. However, their determination and hard work did not go unnoticed, and they were awarded the prestigious Wayne Gretzky Trophy for being the Western Conference Champions.
A Look Ahead
As the Flint Firebirds continue to grow and evolve, the future looks bright for this young team. With their record-breaking seasons, playoff runs, and championship-worthy performances, it’s safe to say that the Firebirds have firmly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the world of minor hockey.
If you’re a fan of hockey, the Flint Firebirds are a team you should definitely keep an eye on. Their passion, dedication, and drive on the ice make for some thrilling games that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And who knows, maybe the Firebirds will go on to make history once again by bringing home the championship title.