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

GREG SAKAKI

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Nanaimo blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

Judy Woodruff discovers bedroom of home in south Nanaimo turned upside-down; jewelry and art stolen

Vancouver Island man in Russia to reshape the future of hockey

NHL official Rob Schick talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Couple collecting empties to feed VIU scholarship fund can’t pick up cans on campus anymore

Parmars have been picking up cans for 12 years; university now enforcing safety policy

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Striking loggers get space at North Island Mall

Space gives union members a Port Hardy base of operations to collect donations, talk to public

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular returns to Vancouver Island for 13th year

Festive stage production brings variety of dance and musical styles to Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay

Firefighters called to burning motorhome on Nanaimo’s waterfront

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes blaze Monday afternoon on Esplanade and Irwin Street

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

Vancouver Island veterinarian heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

Most Read