A week after Ryan Oulahen resigned as head coach of the Flint Firebirds for personal reasons, the Ontario Hockey League team has hired a new bench boss.
Windsor-based sources with knowledge of the situation have told Hockey News North that Flint is bringing back former Firebirds associate coach Eric Wellwood to be the main man in charge of the bench.
The 28-year old Wellwood is a Windsor product who played four OHL seasons for his hometown Spitfires as a productive winger. He was part of back-to-back Memorial Cup championship teams with the Spitfires.
Wellwood went on to play 31 games at the National Hockey League level with the Philadelphia Flyers before having to retire at age 24 because of a serious leg injury. But he wasn’t out of the game for long.
He quickly turned to coaching and spent two seasons as an assistant with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals — and was part of another Memorial Cup championship team — before going to Flint as the associate coach for the 2016-2017 campaign under the aforementioned Oulahen. Wellwood left Flint after one season to help his older brother Kyle — who is also a former OHL forward who went on to play in more than 500 NHL games — on a hockey concussion research project.
The younger Wellwood got back into coaching this season as an assistant with the University of Windsor Lancers and was settling into that role when the OHL head coaching job in Flint opened up.
The Firebirds are the only win-less team in the OHL and are off to a 0-9-0 start to the 2018-2019 season.
Flint will formally announce Wellwood as its new head coach at a press conference today.
PHOTO: Eric Wellwood is the new head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds.