The Nanaimo Clippers are going to get the message right away.
The B.C. Hockey League team’s training camp started Monday at Frank Crane Arena, and coach Mike Vandekamp wants to see a “rip-your-head-off” attitude on the ice. Players have to bring it.
“Can you teach it? Absolutely not,” Vandekamp said. “I would hope that we’ve got competitive people that are going to realize what we’re asking for from the beginning and show it … How you intend on playing when the puck drops on the regular season is how you need to play right from the beginning.”
The team expects to have 42 players step on the ice today (Sept. 6). The Clippers provided a list of 39 prospective players on Friday (see below) and planned to finalize three more names over the weekend.
Vandekamp, also the team’s GM, said he is considering other prospects including players who are at Western Hockey League camps.
“There are more things going on behind the scenes than what you see there…” he said. “So I would suggest that every single player on that list is competing for a spot on our hockey team. There’s not a single roster spot fixed in stone.”
Vandekamp said he likes the group of players he has to work with, but pointed out that there are unknowns.
In a typical training camp, he said, a coach would be familiar with – and perhaps loyal to – certain returning veterans. With a new team, there isn’t that familiarity. Defenceman Josh Phillips is the only player in camp who Vandekamp has coached.
So the coach has structured camp a little differently. Some years, he said, he might only have 25 players in camp with a chance to make the team, compared to 40-plus this month.
The Clippers will hold practices and scrimmages today (Sept. 6), Wednesday and Thursday and a more formal intrasquad game on Friday before they make a single cut.
The remaining guys will then get pre-season games against B.C. Hockey League competition.
“The whole process, from [Sept. 5-18], there’s going to be, definitely, a lot to evaluate,” said Vandekamp.
ICE CHIPS … Practice times at Frank Crane Arena today, Wednesday and Thursday are at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., with scrimmages at 6 p.m. … A previously unreported trade this summer saw Yannick LaFlamme dealt to Manitoba’s Neepawa Hawks as the future considerations of last fall’s Mike Dopko deal … Clippers news will be posted first all season at Clippers Central at www.nanaimobulletin.com … The team’s training camp roster as of Friday is:
Forwards – Kurtis Bond, Jared Chinn, Tanner Clarkson, Colton Cyr, Tyler Elson, Trevor Fitzgerald, Andrew Gladiuk, Taylor Grobowski, Brett Hartskamp, Shawn Holliday, Ryan Hunter, Brodie Jamieson, Brayden Jaw, Kyle Kramer, Chase Lang, Brent Laschuk, Tristan Lowenberger, Jesse Neher, Evan Ritchie, Adam Robertson, Owen Rowsell, Joey Siers, Brendan Taylor.
Defencemen – Nick Bell, Josh Bryan, Colton Dahlen, Sean Flynn, Jordan Groenheyde, Alex Martin, Graeme McCormack, Will McNamara, Adam Nishi, Ryan Panichelli, Josh Phillips, Ryan Wells.
Goaltenders – Mitchell Backhouse, Chris Eiserman, Billy Faust, Lyndon Stanwood.