As you cheer the Nanaimo Clippers as they begin their B.C. Hockey League playoff run this weekend at Frank Crane Arena, you’ll be supporting players who’ve been active off-ice in the community as well.
“It’s been a huge priority of ours, making sure our guys are at everything they possibly can be,” says Tali Campbell, the team’s general manager and director of business operations. “Our players can attest to how busy they are, between hockey, school and their volunteer work.”
Where have you seen your Clippers?
You’ve no doubt seen Clippers players out and about around Nanaimo, whether it’s during one of their many school visits helping your kids read or do math, volunteering for Salvation Army events, playing at charity ball hockey tournaments, “celebrity” serving at Boston Pizza or many other activities. You may have even gotten to know some of the players better by chatting with them.
And that serves both the Clippers and the community well!
The Clippers enjoyed a sellout crowd on Jan. 31, their first full house since the 2004-05 season. Team owner and president Wes Mussio and the rest of the club are grateful for that support, part of which comes from the players being a part of their community and helping out when asked, Campbell says.
“When people can relate to a player and get to know their story, they tend to buy into what we’re trying to accomplish,” he says. “Yes, we’re trying to win hockey games, but we’re also developing young men and making sure they’re positive role models in the community.”
Building special relationships
Helping community groups achieve their goals results in strong partnerships, Campbell says. One special relationship the Clippers are proud of is with the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Chief Michael Wyse. Earlier this month the team wore special Snuneymuxw jerseys for a BCHL game against Powell River. “We really want to celebrate the culture and the sport, and spotlight inclusion for everyone,” Campbell says.
Starting the post-season at home
The Clippers’ strong play this season earned them home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs, which get underway with games Friday and Saturday night (Feb. 28 and 29) at 7 p.m. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, visit tickets.nanaimoclippers.com, call 250-722-5477 Wednesday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., or stop in at the arena box office during those times.