There are rewards for hard work.
The Nanaimo Clippers have held a demanding first week of training camp, and now, the players who made the grade get to don orange and black for some live game action.
“One of the things that we talked to them about at the beginning of our camp was that these first five days was to earn the right to put on our jersey on on Saturday and Sunday,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
Nanaimo faces the Alberni Valley Bulldogs tonight (Sept. 10) at Port Alberni and Sunday at Frank Crane Arena.
“It’ll be interesting to see guys stepping out of their shell more as we start to play other teams and not just intrasquad games,” said Colton Cyr, team captain.
The players who take to the ice today and tomorrow haven’t earned their spots yet, as the Clippers still need to make cuts.
“Guys are still going to be very much fighting for spots on our team…” Vandekamp said. “So I think they’re going to take the games very seriously. I know I’m going to.”
The players aren’t about to ease up knowing that the games don’t count in the standings.
“Everybody’s been working hard, hitting hard in camp so far and we’re going to step it up an extra notch when we face Alberni,” said Brodie Jamieson, Clippers veteran. “It doesn’t matter that it’s exhibition, we still want to beat them.”
Cyr said he likes the idea of facing a rival team back-to-back to start the pre-season sked.
“The guys that are coming into our lineup, it’ll give them a little taste of what it’s going to be like for the rest of the season, playing teams on the Island,” he said.
GAME ON … The Clips and ’Dogs play tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Port Alberni’s Weyerhaeuser Arena, then meet again Sunday (Sept. 11) at 3 p.m. at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena. Season ticket holders can pick up their packages from 1-2:30 p.m. that day.