Rivalry games inspire team

Nanaimo Clippers forward Yannick LaFlamme

Local hockey fans are in for a treat – it’s only October, but the Nanaimo Clippers are about to play a high-stakes series.

The Clippers play three straight B.C. Hockey League games against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. The teams meet Friday (Oct. 22) at Frank Crane Arena, play a Saturday rematch in Duncan, then wrap things up with a midweek game on Oct. 27, also on the road.

As if the rivalry needed any fuel, the two teams are separated by just one point in the standings – Nanaimo (4-5-1-2) is seventh in the B.C. Hockey League’s Coastal Conference and Cowichan (5-10-0-0) is eighth.

“It’s a really big series,” said Andrew Gladiuk, Clippers alternate captain. “It’s really important for us to come out of there with six points and put them in the dust behind us.”

It’s also the first meeting of the regular season for the two teams, so it’s a chance to set a tone and a chance for the new Clippers to start to understand the rivalry.

Newcomer Graeme McCormack hasn’t faced the Caps as a member of the Clippers, but he’s taken them on plenty of times with his former team, the Victoria Grizzlies.

“I didn’t like them in Victoria and I still don’t like them,” he said. “They’re still a fun team to beat.”

GAME ON … The Clips and Caps face off at 7:10 p.m. this Friday (Oct. 22) at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door … Saturday’s game in Duncan is a 7:30 p.m. start time … The Clippers are undefeated (3-0-1-0) this month in the pink jerseys they are wearing for breast cancer awareness. At month’s end, the team will auction off game-worn pink jerseys belonging to Colton Cyr, Gladiuk and Nick Bell and the rest are being raffled off to fans who purchase programs at the rink. Proceeds will benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com