He’s made the Clippers’ top line into the league’s best line so far this season.
Matthew Hoover was named as the B.C. Hockey League Player of the Week. The centreman had four goals and three assists as his team won all three of its games.
Hoover has scored nine goals in his first nine games as a Nanaimo Clipper, skating between veterans Sheldon Rempal and Devin Brosseau, the league’s top two scorers.
“I think Hoovs is a nice mix in that group… [He] is just a spark,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
Hoover’s best goal as a Clipper so far came in last Wednesday’s game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. A puck was chipped into the attacking zone and looked out of reach, but Hoover somehow won a race, out-positioned a defender and re-directed the puck into the net.
“That was pretty sweet to watch, because that was just a straight-out speed and effort type of goal and that’s the type of player he is,” Vandekamp said.
The 19-year-old from Brantford, Ont., was acquired from the Kingston Voyageurs in a blockbuster off-season trade that sent popular checking forward Jacob Hanlon, as well as Anthony Rinaldi, the other way.
“I’m going to school next year and I didn’t know if Kingston was going to be the right spot for me. I thought I needed a change and I’d heard really good things about the program,” Hoover said. “I had a really nice conversation with Mike before coming over here and I couldn’t say no to the opportunity he was talking about, so I took it by the neck and started to run with it here and everything’s turned out so far.”
Playing with Rempal and Brosseau, things are “clicking right away,” Hoover said.
“They’re skilled players, they know what they’re doing out there…” he said. “They just think the game really well and they know where I’m going to be and I know where they’re going to be, so it’s working out really well and I’m loving it.”
GAME ON … The Clippers head off on a road trip, visiting the Vernon Vipers on Friday at 7 p.m., the Salmon Arm SilverBacks on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Merritt Centennials on Sunday at 2 p.m.