After a disappointing end to the 2013 season, the Nanaimo Clippers are back for another season of British Columbia Hockey League action. The Clippers have compiled a 3-2 record in the first five games of the new season, winning both their games at the BCHL showcase in Chilliwack. A win over Port Alberni on September 13 moved the Clippers to 3-0. The team then suffered its first two setbacks of the season, falling to Victoria and Powell River respectively on September 20 and 21.
The Clippers ended last year’s BCHL season on a bitter note. The team let a 2-0 series lead slip away against their rivals, the Port Alberni Bulldogs, in the first round of last year’s playoffs. The Dogs mounted a furious comeback, and managed to win the next three games and take the best of five series 3-2. Luckily for the Clippers, the first round upset didn’t end their season. The team was still able to play in the first ever Western Canada Cup by virtue of being the host for the event. In the WCC, the Clippers put up a valiant fight—even defeating Canada’s number 1 team, the Brooks Bandits, 7-2. Nanaimo managed to make it all the way to the playoff round of the WCC, but lost to the Saskatchewan League champion Yorkton Terriers.
Nanaimo opened the 2013-2014 season against the Westside Warriors. Despite being outshot 48-16, the Clippers managed to hang on for the 6-5 victory. The team followed up that game with a much more complete defensive effort the next day in a 3-1 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings. The following week, the Clippers’ only game was on the road against Port Alberni. Trailing 2-0 just minutes into the second period, Nanaimo managed to come all the way back and stun the Alberni Valley crowd with a 4-2 win.
The next game for the Clippers was the home opener on September 20 against the Victoria Grizzlies. Nanaimo managed to jump out to an early 1-0 lead, but Victoria stormed back. The Grizzlies took a 3-1 lead early in the third period and managed to hang on for a 3-2 win. Nanaimo didn’t fare much better the next night either. Leading 4-2 with less than 15 minutes to go in the game, the Clippers found themselves unable to hold on, and wound up losing 6-4 . The Clippers’ 3-2-0 record gives them six points on the season. The team currently sits in third place in the five-team island division, three points back on the second place Cowichan Valley Capitals.
The Clippers’ roster features only eight players from the team that hosted the WCC last season. Returning forward, Nanaimo native, Brendan Taylor, leads a revamped offense with help from linemates Sheldon Rempal and Devon Brousseau. The trio are the Clippers’ leading scorers, and bring offensive talent to a Clipper squad that has seen a shortage of speedy, offensive minded players over the last few seasons.
The Clippers’ defense is a more experienced group than the offense. Led by returnee and assistant captain, Colton Dahlen, the Clippers’ defense returns four players from last year’s team. The defensive core was boosted offensively in the offseason by the addition of Scott Prier, who had 11 goals and 40 points playing for the Lasalle Vipers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. With such a strong veteran defensive core, the Clippers should continue to improve on defensive side of the puck as the season goes on. Goaltender Jayson Argue, 20, returns for his second season as the starting goaltender for the team. The former nominee for Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year is looking for another strong season between the pipes.
The Clippers play their home game at Frank Crane Arena in Beban Park. Tickets for students are $14. Most Clipper home games are on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information on the team and a complete schedule, visit