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Nanaimo Clippers appoint new coach a week before BCHL playoffs

Dave Liffiton takes over from suspended coach and general manager Colin Birkas
With Nanaimo Clippers’ head coach Colin Birkas suspended, the BCHL team has appointed Dave Liffiton as interim coach. (News Bulletin file photo)

With the playoffs on the horizon and their head coach suspended, the Nanaimo Clippers have appointed an interim coach.

Dave Liffiton has been added to the coaching staff, the Clippers announced in a press release, and Bob Beatty and Tyler Gow will continue duties as associate and assistant coaches respectively. The three have worked together in the past, the press release stated.

Liffiton served as the Clippers’ skills development coach in 2021-22 and became a full-time assistant coach ahead of the 2022 playoffs, noted the release, and factored into the team’s 12-game winning streak which propelled them to the Fred Page Cup finals, where the team lost to the Penticton Vees 4-0. He served as an advisor and coach this season, with player development duties.

Liffiton’s experience also includes time with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers and he said he is looking forward to being back behind the bench.

“I’m excited to be back with the Clippers and in particular, to be back with the players,” Liffiton said in the press release. “The exciting run we had last year was made more special for me when I saw how the team came together at the most critical time of the year. Working with Bob and Tyler, I’m hoping we can go one step further this year.”

The ownership group also said it was happy to have Liffiton back behind the bench.

“Dave is a knowledgeable and experienced coach who has worked with the Clippers previously and who has a great rapport with the players and staff,” said Brad Kwong, team owner, in the release. “We are confident that the trio of coaches we have in place will be instrumental in leading our … players in their quest for a BCHL championship.”

The team announced that head coach Colin Birkas was suspended pending a third-party investigation on March 17.

RELATED: Clippers coach suspended as hockey team nears playoffs

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