The Nanaimo Clippers open training camp later this month

The Nanaimo Clippers open training camp later this month

Nanaimo Clippers hire assistant coach

The Nanaimo Clippers announced over the long weekend that Dustin Donaghy will assist Mike Vandekamp behind the bench in 2016-17.

The Nanaimo Clippers have their new assistant coach in place with plenty of time before training camp.

The city’s B.C. Hockey League club announced over the long weekend that Dustin Donaghy will assist Mike Vandekamp behind the bench in 2016-17.

Donaghy, from Cranbrook, played both junior A and major junior hockey, winning a Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs in 2008, and went on to play five years of minor pro in the States. He coached academy hockey in the U.S. the past two seasons.

Donaghy will be a “real natural fit” with the Clippers, said Vandekamp.

“I think he’ll relate well to our players. He’s a very committed, hard-working guy who has a strong desire to be a coach and is willing to put the work in and the time in to learn the craft … He’s a team-first guy, high character and I think those are some of the attributes that make up a good coach.”

Vandekamp said when hiring an assistant, he might talk about a style of hockey or coaching philosophies, but only in general terms.

“When it comes down to the specifics of how we’re going to play the game, I think that’s going to be something that we’ll work on together as a coaching staff and build that around the type of team that we have on the ice, too.”

The Clips had been searching for a new assistant coach since Blake Clement opted to step away from the sport.

“Everybody here’s really close with Blake. The players are going to miss him and myself, too,” Vandekamp said.

GAME ON … Training camp opens the fourth week of August, with Nanaimo’s first pre-season game coming up Aug. 27 on the road against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com