The Nanaimo Clippers could be tempted to look ahead to the holidays during the coming week of hockey.
But before players start counting sleeps till Christmas, they need to make it through a four-game road trip through the Interior.
“Guys do get a little excited knowing that in a couple days they’ll be flying home,” said Colton Cyr, team captain. “But they know at the same time that there’s a job to be done. They’re going home no matter what so they may as well take advantage of the games that they have before the Christmas break.”
Nanaimo’s B.C. Hockey League team plays four times over the next five days, starting tonight (Dec. 14) in the Okanagan against the Westside Warriors.
The Clippers will try to play smart to make it through the busy schedule this week, taking short shifts, keeping things simple and trying to play in the other team’s zone whenever possible.
But with a 10-day break coming up over Christmas, the Clips might as well play hard, too, and expend all their energy.
Team success is primary, but coach Bill Bestwick also wants to see which individuals will play with urgency and concentration this week.
“Play hard for yourself and earn your ice time,” Bestwick said. “A lot of our guys, because we’ve had so many injuries, honestly haven’t had to earn their ice time.”
After tonight’s game at Westside, the Clips play at Salmon Arm on Wednesday, then have Thursday off before playing Friday and Saturday at Trail and Penticton, respectively. The competition is stiff but the Shipmen themselves have been highly competitive and look forward to testing themselves.
“We can play with the best teams in the league,” said Victor Newell, Clippers defenceman. “We should have no problem competing against the top teams in the Interior division.”
GAME ON … Tonight’s game at Westside is a 7 p.m. faceoff … The next home game for the Nanaimo Clippers will have an international flair. The Shipmen host the Malmo Redhawks on Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Call 250-751-0593 for ticket info.