Clips’ newcomer a complete player

Nanaimo Clippers newcomer Dominic Savoie and his teammates listen to instructions from assistant coach Michael Olson during a practice at training camp Tuesday morning at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

So far the Nanaimo Clippers are getting everything they’d hoped for in a 20-year-old major junior veteran.

Dominic Savoie has emerged as a stalwart over the first few days of training camp.

“He’s complete,” said Lou Gravel, the Clippers’ head scout. “He can bring offence and he’s very sound defensively. He’s physical, he’s strong.”

The 6-foot, 195-pound forward from Laval, Que. joins the Clippers after three years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he played with the Quebec Remparts last season and for the Lewiston Maineiacs for two seasons before that. He wasn’t in the Remparts’ plans this fall, though, so he wanted to figure out a way to keep playing high-level hockey.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to keep growing as a person and as a hockey player, and try to know the country a little bit more,” Savoie said.

If the idea of a 20-year-old veteran from the QMJHL on the Clippers sounds familiar, it is – fans will remember fondly how Luc Olivier Blain grew into the team’s leading scorer and MVP last year in his one and only season in the B.C. Hockey League. The Clippers don’t mind drawing that kind of comparison.

“Savoie fits exactly in that mould,” Gravel said. “Savoie was a character player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He’s a guy that many times won the hard hat award for the top work ethic so he fits in perfectly with a Bill Bestwick type of player.”

Like Blain, Savoie never needed to fill a scoring role in the Q, but Gravel said the newcomer’s got a hard shot and good finish.

“That’s something I’m thinking about,” Savoie said. “I’d like to be a little bit more important than I was back in the QMJHL.”

After his first few practices at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, Savoie said he was starting to get his skating legs back.

To prove himself to his coaches and teammates at camp, he said, he’ll just try to stick to his strengths over the next couple of weeks.

“Being physical is my type of game,” Savoie said. “Just be fast out there skating and play the body, take some shots. Good work ethic will lead you to good spots.”

Gravel said Savoie has the right attitude for a 20-year-old coming from major junior – he doesn’t view the BCHL as a way to wind down his hockey career, he sees it as a way to further his hockey career.

“I’m here to help this team to win and hopefully everything is going to work out well,” Savoie said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com