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GM/Head Coach Colin Birkas receives long-term contract extension

The Nanaimo Clippers have agreed to a long-term deal with Colin Birkas who will continue as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Nanaimo Clippers for many years to come. Colin Birkas came to the program for the 2019-2020 season as an Associate Coach and was in charge of the defensive zone coverages. Almost immediately, the Nanaimo Clippers saw a marked improvement in their performance boasting five shutouts that year and one of the best goalie save percentages ever in the BCHL courtesy of Jordan Naylor and an elite level defensive core. The Nanaimo Clippers ended up winning the Island Division regular-season and then sweeping the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the first round before the COVID-19 lockdowns brought an end to the hockey season. In the 2020-2021 season, the uncertainty surrounding more COVID-19 lockdowns created what was called an Extended Training Camp and again the Nanaimo Clippers won the Island Division. The stellar defensive play, orchestrated by Colin Birkas, was a key component to this victory.

In the 2021-2022 season, the team started strong but there was some adversity regarding the coaching staff that threw a wrench in the wheel of the team. Birkas came to the rescue taking over as Head Coach and General Manager mid-season and brought the team to within a few points of first in the Coastal Conference regular season after almost going undefeated for most of the last half of the season. In the playoffs, the Nanaimo Clippers reeled off 12 straight victories sweeping the Surrey Eagles, Chilliwack Chiefs and Langley Rivermen, not a small feat. They unfortunately lost in the league championship to a highly skilled team in the Penticton Vees but still were crowned as the Coastal Conference Playoff Championship.

Colin Birkas commented on the signing “I am very excited to continue to work in the best league in Canada.  Every night, we play the best players and the best teams and get these young men exposure to the NCAA Division 1 colleges and NHL teams.  It’s a privilege and an honour to be able to do this for a living.”  

Wes Mussio, owner of the Clippers explained “This hasn’t been an easy year for the coaching staff or the ownership group which is why it became clear to me that Colin deserves a long-term contract. He fought through some adversity, put it aside and focused the team on a championship run that came up a little short. I’m very proud of the level of professionalism that Colin brings to the team not to mention his attention to detail and his recruiting skills. He’s going to be the Head Coach that will allow the Clippers to raise the Fred Page Cup one day, hopefully after the 2022-2023 season”.

Colin Birkas added “The city and community of Nanaimo has welcomed me and supported me extremely well. I love it here on Vancouver Island. I believe the last few years we have put a product on the ice that the city and fans can support and be proud of.  That is why I am excited to see what we can continue to do going forward as we have some unfinished business, namely a league championship. We have a good returning core and we have some really good recruits coming in.”