Mike Vandekamp was fired Thursday as coach and general manager of the Nanaimo Clippers. He was in his seventh season with the BCHL club. (NEWS BULLETIN file)

Clippers owner says lack of co-operation led to coach’s firing

Mike Vandekamp was fired as coach and GM of the Clippers and replaced with Darren Naylor

The Nanaimo Clippers’ coach was fired because of a lack of a working relationship with ownership and management, says the team’s owner.

Mike Vandekamp was fired Thursday as coach and general manager of the Clippers, replaced with Darren Naylor, the BCHL club’s head of hockey operations.

Wes Mussio, Clippers owner, said efforts by himself and Naylor “to improve the team [were] met with great resistance” from Vandekamp. He said Vandekamp often didn’t return phone calls and text messages.

“The previous owner gave Mike a carte-blanche ability to do anything he wants and I wanted some input and I wanted Darren Naylor to have some input and sadly that didn’t seem like something Mr. Vandekamp was prepared to accept,” Mussio said.

The owner said the coaching change needed to happen now because he and Naylor felt that waiting until next season would negatively impact their ability to recruit and build for 2018-19.

“We brought in a few key players and they were hit with resistance and we also tried to bring on some [affiliate players] and that was hit with resistance. So in order to move forward to the next year, we need to have a look at players and recruit,” Mussio said. “Without any support from the coach, it’s pretty hard to do.”

Mussio said Vandekamp was asked to commit to a new working relationship by today, Dec. 22.

“He didn’t think it was in his personality … to do so, so that’s the end of it,” the owner said.

The Clippers have an 18-13-2-3 record and sit one point out of first place in their division. Mussio stressed that the coaching change was a management-based decision, not a performance-based decision.

“I would have to say whole-heartedly that Mike was a great coach, but me and him and Darren Naylor do not fit together,” Mussio said.

Naylor is expected to resign as coach of the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, but remain with that organization in some capacity.

Mussio said he had reached out to Dustin Donaghy, the Clippers’ current assistant coach, but hadn’t heard back.

“It’s definitely up to him; if he wants to stay on, then we’re more than pleased to have him continue,” Mussio said.

The owner added that there are “several candidates” being considered as additions to the coaching staff, one of whom “has quite a bit of experience with the Clippers in the past.”

Vandekamp could not be reached for comment.



sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Two cars collide at Enterprise Way intersection

Accident happened Wednesday, April 25, just before 8:15 p.m. on the old Island Highway

Unmarked police SUV with lights and siren on crashes at parkway intersection

Sport-utility vehicle and crossover collide at Aulds Road and Nanaimo Parkway

UPDATED: Search operation begins for missing Nanaimo man

Nanaimo Search and Rescue has set up operations at Westwood Lake in effort to find Lionel Cayer

Nanaimo RCMP seeking assistance finding 13-year-old girl

Police hope public can help find Marley Warn, who has not been seen since Tuesday

Vancouver Island is home to some of the ‘rattiest’ cities in B.C.

Three municipalities in Greater Victoria, and three more around the Island have gnawed their way into the top 20

Unmarked police SUV with lights and siren on crashes at parkway intersection

Sport-utility vehicle and crossover collide at Aulds Road and Nanaimo Parkway

Arrests made after pickup collides with two unmarked police cars in Yellow Point

Two men facing numerous charges after allegedly fleeing scene

City council won’t accept more than a two-per-cent tax increase

Financial plan amendment bylaw fails on first reading in 5-4 vote

City of Nanaimo staff busy with flurry of FOI requests

City clerk says municipality on track to receive 600 freedom of information requests in 2018

Traffic routes shuffled as roadwork continues

Drive with caution through city roadwork zones or find alternative routes to avoid delays

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Homelessness isn’t a choice for people

I am a woman in my 60s who recently found myself homeless, says letter writer

Spirit of BookFest extended to Nanaimo’s school libraries

Participating authors and illustrators donate books

Nanaimo buses first to get new technology

NextRide technology will help riders pinpoint where buses are and predicted arrival times

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Most Read