Swedish hockey next on schedule

A Team Sweden U-17 player collides with a Nanaimo Clippers opponent during a game at Frank Crane Arena three years ago.

Hockey cultures collide on New Year’s Day.

After a stretch of road games, the Nanaimo Clippers will return to Frank Crane Arena on Jan. 1 to host a Swedish junior team, the Malmo Redhawks.

The last time a Swedish hockey team played the Clippers was in January of 2008, when the B.C. Hockey League club shut out Sweden’s Under-17 side 2-0 at a packed rink.

Current Nanaimo Clippers captain Colton Cyr had the game-winning goal that day back when he was an affiliate player with the Shipmen.

“The Swedish federation told us that our game was the one that they looked forward to the most and the one that also turned out to be the most enjoyable for them,” said Bill Bestwick, coach of the Clips. “If we can duplicate that on Jan. 1 with a highly entertaining international friendly, we’d be pretty happy.”

In the days leading up to the New Year’s Day game, the Shipmen will have played road games at Powell River and Surrey, so their game should already be back to full speed after the Christmas break.

“We’ll go out there and compete hard and I know the players will certainly enjoy the experience,” Bestwick said.

GAME ON … The Clippers play the Malmo Redhawks at 5 p.m. on Jan. 1 at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets are $10, or $6 for children, and are available this week at the team’s office on Bowen Road. For more information please call 250-751-0593.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com