Gary Dorland / Nanaimo Clippers

Clippers sign head coach Naylor and associate coach Birkas to contract extensions


The Nanaimo Clippers announced Thursday that general manager and head coach Darren Naylor and associate GM and associate coach Colin Birkas have each agreed to new two-year contract extensions through the 2022-23 BC Hockey League season.

Naylor, 52, is in his third season with the Clippers organization. He started out as director of hockey operations in 2017-18 before replacing Mike Vandekamp as head coach and GM midway through that season.

He has been behind the bench since then and remains the director of hockey operations for Nanaimo. Naylor also carries the title of vice-president for the Clippers.

Birkas joined the Clippers before the 2019-20 season. Prior to heading to Nanaimo, he spent seven seasons from 2011-17 coaching junior A with three different teams in Alberta and Ontario.

“Darren and Colin have augmented each other nicely through two seasons now,” said Clippers owner and president Wes Mussio in a news release. “Darren is more of an old-school hockey coach that expects a strong work ethic and a lot of grit from his players whereas Colin is more of a technical systems guy. The two have produced some top-end teams over the last two seasons and definitely deserve longer-term contracts as a reward for the excellent results.”

In three and a half seasons as Nanaimo’s head coach, Naylor has an 86-65-7-0 record.

Naylor joined the Clippers from the Delta Ice Hawks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League in 2017. He was head coach of the Ice Hawks in 2016-17 and GM in 2017-18.

The White Rock, BC native was also scout for the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds from 2008 to 2014. Prior to his scouting and management career, Naylor played pro hockey in various leagues from 1993 to 1996.

He also played parts of three seasons in the WHL with the Victoria Cougars and Swift Current Broncos, appearing in 131 games and posting 102 points. Naylor was a veteran BCHL player as well, putting up 124 points in 94 games with Delta, Langley, Juan de Fuca, Ladner, and Vernon split between the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.