After a short off-season, maybe the Nanaimo Clippers can keep skating where they left off.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team is getting ready to start the 2015-16 season this week, and is happy with how preparations are going.
The Clippers made it all the way to the league finals last year, eventually losing in six games to the Penticton Vees.
“There’s some carry-over, for sure,” said Edwin Hookenson, Clippers defenceman. “There’s a lot of hurt from last season, so everybody’s hungry to get back to where we were last year and go a little bit further, because it’s still pretty fresh in everybody’s memory.”
He said the Clippers can recall some of their approaches from last year that led to success, and try to replicate them.
“When you’re as successful as we were last year, you want to stick to the same kind of things,” Hookenson said. “The leaders on the team, we’re trying to run the team the same way it was run last year in the dressing room. That got us a long ways last year, so we’re hoping it’ll work again for us.”
Devin Brosseau, veteran forward, said it’s “very hard” to compare one year to another.
“We’ve got a good core group of guys coming back. We were a winning team last year, so obviously the guys that were here last year know what it takes to win,” he said. “We fell short last year, we know that too, so we want to change that this year.”
They’re excited about the whole process as they reload with new faces and new talent.
“I think from now on, it’s just building every game,” Brosseau said. “I think we’ve been better every single game we’ve played … and I think it’s just going to keep growing.”
The Clippers played their final pre-season games against the Cowichan Valley Capitals this past weekend, winning 5-2 at Frank Crane Arena on Friday and losing 2-1 in Duncan the next night.
Chris Dodero scored two goals in the win and Lucas Finner, Charley Borek and Matt Hoover were the other scorers. Ryan Forbes scored in Saturday’s loss.