Newest Clipper makes return to Interior
A trade deadline can be a bonding experience.
Players have no choice but to rally together. They know the group with which they’ll win or lose, and they know that time is tight.
So the addition of Josh Blanchard at the deadline could turn out to be good timing.
“All the guys have been great welcoming me in, bringing me in right away, which is important this time of year, right?” he asked. “With a couple [months] left, you’ve got to start jelling as quick as you can.”
Blanchard was acquired from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and now the Clippers say they want to try to beat the Silverbacks this Friday (Jan. 27), not only for the team’s fortunes, but also for their newest teammate.
Blanchard said he had no idea he might be traded, though he noticed the Silverbacks were moving other 20-year-olds.
“And then deadline actually passed and I didn’t find out until a couple hours later that I was going to Nanaimo,” he said. “I’ve been traded before, but it was definitely interesting after thinking, ‘OK, I’m safe now,’ and then a couple hours later getting the call.”
He’s excited to come to the Clippers and hopes he can help with depth on the forward lines. Seeing what the team did the last two playoffs, he said, makes him think there’s potential for another run.
Nanaimo’s chances are improved with Blanchard. He hasn’t contributed offensively yet, but Mike Vandekamp, Clippers general manager, was looking to add not only scoring, but a veteran presence.
“We’re a pretty inexperienced club. Not a young club, necessarily, but an inexperienced club. So I think experience, with that usually comes a little bit of poise,” Vandekamp said.
Blanchard has played 185 career B.C. Hockey League games with four teams. He hopes to get an opportunity in the NCAA – a past scholarship to St. Cloud State fell through – but the Clippers will be his final junior hockey club.
So he wants to make the most of this final stretch.
“You’ve got to show up every day and work like it is your last day, because you never know when it is your last day,” he said.