Clippers back for next stage

The Nanaimo Clippers will return to the ice Friday (April 12) to practise and scrimmage for three days of training-camp-style hockey.

There aren’t usually do-overs in the playoffs, but the Nanaimo Clippers get one.

The city’s junior A hockey club, bound for the Western Canada Cup in two weeks’ time, has decided to start anew with a spring camp.

The team will return to the ice Friday (April 12), split into Team Black and Team Orange, and practise and scrimmage for three days of training-camp-style hockey.

“We’re going to go right after it,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “We’re going to work hard in our practices this weekend and then expect the guys to play full-out in our games and then dive back into it.”

The current Clippers’ roster will be supplemented by affiliates, prospects and players committed for 2013-14.

Vandekamp said it gives those players the chance to participate in a high-calibre spring camp. For the current Clippers, the camp is a restart.

“That was the whole idea behind it, was to create a mentality [of] restarting the engines,” Vandekamp said.

The Clippers’ early playoff exit indicated that there’s room for improvement, and the team has to find that improvement from within. That means that players could potentially work their way up the depth chart at this weekend’s camp and the practices that follow.

“From the goal net out we’re evaluating what our lineup needs to look like and what roles people need to play when that tournament starts,” said Vandekamp.

ICE CHIPS … Due to ice-time constraints in Nanaimo at this time of year, the Clippers will have to utilize rinks in neighbouring cities. Friday’s practices are at Frank Crane Arena, but that day’s scrimmage is at 4 p.m. at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan. Saturday’s practices and 3 p.m. scrimmage are also in Duncan. On Sunday, camp moves to Parksville’s Oceanside Place, where the final scrimmage will be held at 3 p.m.