Nanaimo Clippers forwards Sheldon Rempal

Nanaimo Clippers forwards Sheldon Rempal

Clippers set out to go one step further

The News Bulletin presents its annual season preview of the Nanaimo Clippers junior A hockey team.

The Nanaimo Clippers climbed so close as runners-up for the cup last season.

As the 2015-16 B.C. Hockey League campaign begins, the Clippers are going back to the beginning in some ways. But they look forward to what’s ahead as they try to take a step further.

“Some of the guys have maybe a bitter taste from last year, coming so close…” said Sheldon Rempal, Clippers forward. “All the returning guys can feel that we have a good enough team here to get back there and win.”

It’s still early September, and the cup won’t be awarded anytime soon. But starting Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 12-13) on the road against the Powell River Kings, the Clippers can start winning some games and putting themselves in position, said Mike Vandekamp, the team’s coach and general manager.

“We know we’re going to make mistakes early in the season, that’s normal,” he said. “We just want to make sure that we’re playing with lots of spirit and lots of passion. And as the season goes along, if we stay committed to the whole program we’ll learn how to play a stronger team game as we go.”

Yanni Kaldis, all-star defenceman, said practices this fall have been intense and said everyone’s been working hard.

“So I think we’re definitely ready for it to start…” he said. “That’s what you’ve been waiting for all summer and it’s finally getting here.”

Here’s a look at this year’s Nanaimo Clippers:


Leading the group of returning forwards is Rempal, who led the Clippers with 29 goals last year. The creative, competitive winger is capable of 35-40 in his last year of junior.

“I know it’s a big number, but it’s always fun to see what I can do year after year,” he said.

The Clippers expect another returning vet, Devin Brosseau, to bounce back with a big year after being limited by injury in 2014-15.

Two newcomers who slot into the top six are Matt Hoover, a feisty, two-way forward, and Chris Dodero, who showed scoring punch in the pre-season and brings, speed, skill and tenacity. Other new faces include D.J. Petruzzelli, another all-around forward who is making the transition from midget, and Matt Creamer, a power forward who will be able to score.

Returnee Brendan Shane could surprise fans as he gets a chance to play a larger role.

Vandekamp said the Clippers will stress defence-first hockey and trust that goals will come through hard work at both ends of the rink.


The Clippers have the luxury of being able to ice a six-man defence corps of returning players, if they so choose.

“We have a lot of vets back there,” Kaldis said. “We should be able to take care of things while the forwards get some chemistry going, figure out the lines completely. Until they get going, we should be able to hold the other teams down to only a couple goals a game.”

Kaldis was the league’s second-highest-scoring defenceman a year ago, and along with Edwin Hookenson, Kale Bennett and Ryan Coghlan – all of them impactful at both ends of the ice – it makes for a potentially potent top four.

The other returnees are Jordan Low and Sean Buchanan.

Newcomer Adam Pilotte brings skating, compete level and a lot of upside, and he and Louis-Philippe Pagé can anticipate a share of the minutes on the blueline.

“I think [defence] is the strength of our team, but it’s a hard position to play and first-year players have to adapt and adjust,” the coach said.


Jonathan Reinhart was brought in early in the off-season to be the starting goalie. The Clippers like the netminder’s size, work ethic and maturity.

“We expect him to do well,” Vandekamp said.

There were still three goalies on the roster at press time, but Jakob Walter is expected to make up the other half of Nanaimo’s goaltending tandem.

Just Posted

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read