Garrett James Photography

Nanaimo Clippers: Graduating players and eligible returnees

The Nanaimo Clippers had an excellent 2021-22 amid some upheaval around their coaching staff earlier in the season. The Clippers finished third in the Coastal Conference behind Chilliwack and Alberni, but they had a remarkable playoff.

The Clippers swept the Surrey Eagles in the first round, the Chilliwack Chiefs in the second round, and the Langley Rivermen in the Coastal Conference finals. Their good fortune ran out though, as Nanaimo was swept by the Penticton Vees in the Fred Page Cup Finals.

The Clippers have 10 players committed to NCAA Division I schools and three players aging out of junior hockey.

Nanaimo head coach Colin Birkas has eight forwards and three defenders eligible to return for the 2022-23 season. Birkas also has seven 20-year-olds next season, so it will be a tough decision to let go of one to get to the league maximum of six.

These numbers will likely change as players move to other leagues like the Western Hockey League, US Hockey League, or North American Hockey League. They may drop down to junior B, be sent away in trades, retire, or wind up committing to college before September and don’t return to Nanaimo.

All college commitment information regarding schools and which season a player heads to the NCAA is taken from the BCHL website and each team’s individual roster.

The depth chart is based on the league going with a 24-player roster next season and coaches going with 14 forwards, eight defenders, and two goaltenders.

Graduating Players

Charles Tardif (Michigan Tech University)
Sean Donaldson (Cornell University)
Austin Spiridakis (Quinnipiac University)
Max Itagaki (US Military Academy West Point)
Tristan Fraser (University of Connecticut)
Jake Hewitt (US Military Academy West Point )
Ethan Mistry (Brown University)
Jack O’Brien (Cornell University)
Cooper Black (Dartmouth University)
Jed Baliotti (University of New Hampshire)
Andrew Noel (aged out)
Alek Sukunda (aged out)
Keighan Gerrie (aged out)

Eligible Returnees (* indicates open spot – assuming the team goes with 14 forwards and eight defenders)

Walker Erickson (02)
Ben Kotylak (02)
Brody Waters (02)
Cole Hansen (02)
Jérémie Payant (02)
Kai Daniells (03)
Luca Grabas (03)
Blake Power (04)

Michael Craig (02)
Skyler Cameron (02)
Brett Merner (04)