Coach lets prospects show their stuff

This year, the Nanaimo Clippers have a rookie-laden roster, and maybe it’s best just to let the kids play for awhile.

Nanaimo Clippers forward Garrett Dunlop goes for a shot on goal during pre-season action against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena.

Nanaimo Clippers forward Garrett Dunlop goes for a shot on goal during pre-season action against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena.

Some years, the Nanaimo Clippers would have a roster of veterans who would be well-versed in systems hockey by this time of year.

This year, the Clips have a rookie-laden roster, and maybe it’s best just to let the kids play for awhile.

“Especially this year, we haven’t really instilled a ton of systems or team play or anything like that,” said Mike Vandekamp, the team’s coach and general manager, last week. “We’ve pretty much just let the players go out there and kind of show us what they have.”

If the team had more returning vets, he said, then maybe it would have shortened the evaluation period and got right down to coaching team concepts.

This week’s exhibition games featured lots of solo efforts, and some of the dangles led to turnovers.

“You still should buy in [and] be a good team player at this time of year,” Vandekamp said. “I think it shows what type of player you’re going to be when the chips are down.”

The GM wasn’t expecting to finalize the season-opening roster until the end of the exhibition schedule.

“I look forward to getting going, moving forward and working with the players, because there’s lots of guys that have shown a real desire to be here and a real desire to learn,” he said.

GAME ON … The Clippers play the Alberni Valley Bulldogs tonight (Aug. 30) in pre-season action at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. The teams then have a rematch tomorrow at Port Alberni … The Clippers start the B.C. Hockey League season Saturday (Sept. 7) when they take on the West Kelowna Warriors in Chilliwack.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com