2010-11: Dane Birks appeared in 12 midget AAA games as a 15-year-old, skating for the Williams Lake Timberwolves in his hometown in British Columbia. He had 1 assist and 14 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Birks attended rookie camp with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen before playing junior hockey for Creston Valley in the Kootenay International league. He made his debut in the British Columbia Hockey League – skating in 10 games for the Trail Smoke Eaters with no points and 12 penalty minutes. Birks played 47 games for Creston Valley and scored 3 goals with 21 assists and 72 penalty minutes. The Thunder Cats finished third in the Eddie Mountain Division. Birks had 1 assist and 20 penalty minutes in six playoff games.
2012-13: After attending the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs’ camp in August, Birks committed to playing college hockey at Michigan Tech in 2014-15 in October and skated for the Merritt Centennials. In his first full BCHL season he scored 5 goals with 15 assists and had 28 penalty minutes. Merritt reached the playoffs after finishing third in the Interior Division. Birks had 1 assist and 6 penalty minutes in five playoff games. He was also selected to play in the CJHL’s Young Prospects Games in November. Ranked 121st amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, Birks was selected by Pittsburgh in the sixth round (164th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Birks is a mobile defenseman who is good at making outlet passes and possesses a solid shot from the point. He skates fairly well and is not afraid to engage physically, though, his game overall is still very raw. He is considered a long-term project, though he possesses the skillset to one day develop into a solid two-way defenseman.
Birks is expected to spend one more season in the BCHL before moving on to Michigan Tech in the 2014-15 season.