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Nanaimo Clippers coach suspended as hockey team nears playoffs

Allegations not made public, but Colin Birkas denies and BCHL team is co-operating, says statement
Colin Birkas, Nanaimo Clippers’ head coach and GM, has been temporarily suspended after a complaint under Hockey Canada’s discipline and complaints policy, said the BCHL club. (News Bulletin file photo)

The Nanaimo Clippers’ bench boss has been suspended, the B.C. Hockey League club has announced.

In a statement released Friday, March 17, the Clippers said Colin Birkas, head coach and general manager, will be “temporarily suspended from his duties” until a third-party investigation is conducted, following a complaint under Hockey Canada’s discipline and complaints policy.

The Clippers organization respects the process detailed by authorities and prioritizes player safety, the statement noted, adding that Birkas denies the allegations. The team says it will co-operate during the investigation and work to ensure the matter is resolved quickly.

The Clippers said they would issue no further comments until the matter is resolved.

In 2022, Birkas, then an associate coach, and Darren Naylor, former head coach, were placed on temporary leave to allow the BCHL to conduct an investigation, which the league said was for allegations of breaching the code of conduct.

Bob Beatty and Tyler Gow, associate coaches, will handle coaching and managerial responsibilities in Birkas’s absence, the team said.

With four games remaining in the 2022-23 regular season the Nanaimo Clippers sit atop the Coastal conference with a 35-12-3 record.

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