The Nanaimo Clippers are taking the next step toward a new season. The city’s B.C. Hockey League club is busy this week with four pre-season games in five nights.
The club opened training camp last week and is continuing to turn its collection of hockey players into a hockey team.
“We have a lot of speed and skill and we’ve also got some grind, too, so I think we’ve got the right mix of players here,” said Jayson Argue, veteran goalie.
The first week of camp was a tough physical challenge, said veteran forward Mason Mitchell, so guys who were up to it showed themselves in a good light. The pre-season games, he said, will be another opportunity.
“You don’t know anybody so you can’t really predict what it’s going to be like, who’s going to score, who’s going to do this, what line’s going to play the best,” Mitchell said. “I guess it’s just a big test when you get out there and it’s a surprise when you start to play.”
The Clippers tied the Cowichan Valley Capitals 4-4 on Saturday in an all-rookie game at Lake Cowichan.
The pre-season continued Tuesday against the Caps, and Nanaimo will play its first home pre-season game tonight (Aug. 28), also against Cowichan. The exhibition schedule will wrap up with a home-and-home series against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday (Aug. 30) and Saturday.
Argue said the Clippers hope the games are fast-paced to help players get ready for the approaching season.
“We’re looking for that never-quit attitude,” he said. “We need guys that want to win and that want to be there.”
Colton Dahlen, veteran defenceman, said game action will be a chance for players to show their resiliency and compete level. Even though the games don’t count in the standings, he expects guys to be going 100 per cent.
“We want to go in there and send a message that we’re going to beat you all year,” he said. “We want to win every game we play.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Capitals play Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, and on Friday the Clips and Bulldogs do battle at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane … The Clippers’ regular season begins Sept. 7 when they take on the West Kelowna Warriors at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. Nanaimo’s home opener isn’t until Sept. 20.