Trail Smoke Eaters: Birks back behind bench

The Trail Smoke Eaters announced Wednesday that head coach and general manager Bill Birks has accepted a contract extension.

The Trail Smoke Eaters announced Wednesday that head coach and general manager Bill Birks has accepted a contract extension and will return to guide the Smokies in the 2013-14 BCHL campaign.

Birks joined the Smoke Eaters as an assistant coach for the 2010-11 season and was named head coach and general manager in May of 2011.

This past season, Birks led the Smoke Eaters to a 26-28-0-2 overall record, more than doubling the previous season’s win total. Trail’s goal differential also improved over 2011-12 by a figure of +86 and three Smoke Eaters (Scott Davidson, Brent Baltus and Garrett McMullen) earned NCAA Division I scholarships.

“We’re happy to have Bill carry on in his role as our head coach and general manager,” said Smoke Eaters president Tom Gawryletz in a release. “We were one of the hardest-working teams in the BCHL this season and I’m excited about the core of players eligible to return under Bill’s guidance next year.”

The Smokies coach has little time to dwell on the new contract as he prepares for next season.

“The biggest focus right now is spring camp coming up at the end of the month,” said Birks. “We are about two-thirds full right now so hope to find some kids, earmark some kids. It never stops. I’ll take a few days off to recharge and then away we go again.”

Spring camp goes Mar. 30-31 at the Cominco Arena.