TORONTO — George Burnett was appointed general manager of the Flint Firebirds on Tuesday while Joe Stefan was named assistant general manager and director of player development.
The team has been under the direction of Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch since April, when Firebirds owner Rolf Nilsen was suspended for five years. Nilsen twice fired the team's head coach over the protests of the players.
"The league is entrusting George Burnett with the hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds and we believe his experience will provide the players, parents, billets and team staff with stability and expertise," Branch said in a release. "Burnett will be backed by a strong team in hockey operations, including Joe Stefan who is well known to Flint Firebirds players and families."
Burnett, 54, spent this past season as head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs. He has previous OHL head coaching experience with the Belleville Bulls, Oshawa Generals, Guelph Storm and Niagara Falls Thunder.
"I am excited to be joining the Flint Firebirds organization and dedicating 100 per cent of my time to the management of the team," said Burnett. "The Flint Firebirds have a bright and promising future and I look forward to being part of the team and the Genesee County community."
Joe Birch, who has led Flint's hockey operations since February, will continue in his current role.
Stefan, 50, began his OHL coaching career with the Plymouth Whalers as an assistant in 2007 after joining the club's staff as a scout in 2005. He was named associate coach in 2008 and was on the Whalers' bench until 2014.
Stefan served as Firebirds interim head coach for 15 games this past season.
"It is great to be returning to the Flint Firebirds and having the opportunity to work with George Burnett," said Stefan. "I look forward to continuing to work with the team, players and families on their ongoing player development."
An announcement on coaching is expected imminently, the OHL said.