Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trail wastes no time in naming new bench boss

Press Release

The Trail Smoke Eaters board of directors are pleased to announce that Bill Birks will take over as head coach and general manager of the club for the coming season.

He will continue to move forward with the March spring camp running the 25th to 27th.

Birks has shown in his one year with the club a willingness to work and communicate with players and fans alike. He has several years experience in the BCHL and understands the league operation.

"It was important that we have as smooth a transition as possible with our spring camp only two weeks away and a large part of our recruiting in place for the coming year," said Smoke Eaters President Tom Gawryletz. "We have all the confedence that Bill can fulfil our needs."

Birks joined the Smoke Eaters as an assistant coach for the 2010-2011 season. He helped guide the team to a 31-23-2-4 record and cut their goals against by 100 from the 2009-10 season.

"I'm very excited and can't wait to get going," said Birks. "I respect hard work and responsibility. We will carry forward with the same values the Smoke Eaters have personified during the last few years."

Birks has previous experience as a BCHL assistant in Merritt where he worked under Al Glendenning for two seasons. As a player, Birks spent the late 1980s with Merritt in the BCHL and then moved on to minor pro hockey where he suited up for the famous Johnstown Chiefs in the ECHL.

The Smoke Eaters wish to thank former coach and GM Jim Ingram and his family for their commitment to the franchise. Ingram resigned his post on March 11.

(Nathan can be reached at

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