Nanaimo Clippers director of community operations Darcy Olsen, left, and chief executive officer Andrea Trepanier announce the launch of the hockey team’s campaign for donations to secure community ownership. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Clippers begin campaign for community ownership

The Clippers Hockey Society officially launched its fundraising campaign Tuesday

It isn’t hockey season, but the Nanaimo Clippers need fan support now more than ever.

The junior A hockey team’s Clippers Hockey Society officially launched its fundraising campaign Tuesday to try to complete the purchase of the franchise.

“We would like to see the donations coming in from the community to do the actual purchase of the team, just to get that piece completed and have that support to show that it is going to be a viable option here in Nanaimo and that there is support for this idea,” said Andrea Trepanier, Clippers chief executive officer.

The Clippers Hockey Society received enough financial commitment in recent weeks to keep the team in Nanaimo, as a handful of individuals came up with more than one-third of the $1 million purchase price of the hockey club. Now comes more work – to try to raise the rest of the money.

“The [fundraising campaign] is completely targeted at buying the team, purchasing the Nanaimo Clippers franchise and the assets,” said Trepanier.

She hopes people will get on board with the idea of the society and community ownership. The Clippers are asking for donations of any amount of money. Anyone who donates $5 or more becomes a member of the society and anyone who donates $100 or more becomes a voting member. Those who join the society receive various souvenirs and perks, from pins and car flags all the way up to season tickets, private suite invitations and autographed jerseys.

The Clippers aren’t planning any fundraising events, at least not at first.

“We won’t be knocking door to door, that’s not on our agenda…” the CEO said. “We’re going to wait and see what this does first and see how much further we need to take it as far as pushing for donations.”

She said last month’s relocation talk and this month’s resolution to that situation kept the Clippers “high on the minds” of many people in the community.

“So we’re sort of hoping that the interest is still there. Striking while the iron is hot, so to speak, where people are thinking about our team and thinking about what they could do to help us and keep the team here,” Trepanier said.

The fundraising goal sounds like a lot, but the CEO said she isn’t daunted. The community could raise that money in no time if it chooses, Trepanier said, pointing to Nanaimo’s population as well as the fans she knows exist in Lantzville, Ladysmith, Nanoose Bay and even Parksville.

“I believe that there’s support out there for the Clippers and I think we have enough population to generate these donations to purchase the team,” she said. “I hope so. Boy, I hope so.”

For information about making a donation and joining the Clippers Hockey Society, please visit www.nanaimoclippers.com or call 250-751-0593.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com