By contributor Reid Eccles
The British Columbia Hockey League’s (BCHL) trade deadline came and went on January 10, and the Nanaimo Clippers were actively involved in one of the day’s 10 trades.
The Clippers acquired forward Gavin Gould from the Merritt Centennials in exchange for rookie Clipper forward Zach Court, as well as a future draft pick—a pick Nanaimo received in exchange for goaltender Jonathon Reinhart in a trade with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) back in early December.
North Vancouver native Gould comes to Nanaimo seated 10th in the league, scoring with 54 points in 41 games this season. In two and a half seasons with Merritt, he totalled 138 points in 153 games and had already earned the title of 24th all-time in Centennials’ scoring. So far, Gould has tallied three points in three games as a Clipper. Court only produced 16 points, eight goals, and eight assists in 33 games as a Clipper before being traded.
“[The trade was] to add some forward depth and experience to help down the stretch and into the playoffs,” Clippers’ Head Coach Mike Vandekamp said.
Gould is welcomed to both the Clippers’ second offensive line, and the second-unit power play, playing on the left wing of Chris Dodero and Nolan Aibel. Up until now, the Clippers have relied heavily on their top line led by Sheldon Rempal. Rempal scored his 50th goal of the season on January 17, and with line mates Devin Brosseau and Matt Hoover, the top three have combined for 98 of the Clippers’ total 177 goals of the season (55 per cent).
Although the Rempal-line has proven its dominance all season, secondary scoring is key driving into the playoffs; without a legitimate top six producing each game, one injured forward could stymie offensive output drastically. The Clippers have commanded a lead over the Island Division this season, and with the addition of Gould to the second line they’re preparing to grind their way to the Fred Page Cup.
With the Centennials last in the Interior Division, and second to last in the league, only ahead of the dwindling Surrey Eagles, the trade for a draft pick and the youthful Court makes sense. Gavin is one-year senior to Court—next year will be Gould’s last eligible year in the BCHL, but that means there is potential for Gould to play alongside Matt Hoover on the Clippers’ top offensive line. Gould is committed to Michigan Tech’s NCAA team.
The left-shooting Gould stands at five foot eight, weighing in at 160 pounds, and is considerably smaller than Court, but with his addition the Clippers claim four of the top 10 point-scorers in the league (Rempal first, Hoover third, Brosseau fourth, and Gould 10th). As a Clipper, Gould wears the number 23 jersey.
Tickets for Clippers games can be purchased at the box office at Frank Crane Arena starting an hour before puck drop. Tickets are only $10 for VIU students, and a free beer is included with admission.