Defensive firepower flies south

The Nanaimo Clippers will try to answer a lot of the coach’s questions when they step on the ice at training camp next week. One of those questions will be blueline scoring.

The Nanaimo Clippers will try to answer a lot of the coach’s questions when they step on the ice at training camp next week.

One of those questions will be blueline scoring.

The team lost a lot of firepower from the back end this off-season, first with Victor Newell’s departure for the United States Hockey League, then with Sam Labrecque’s recent decision to go to U.S. college a year earlier than previously thought.

Nanaimo still has its top scoring blueliner from last season, Graeme McCormack (10 goals, 31 assists), but Newell (12 goals, 23 assists) and Labrecque (15 goals, 12 assists) were important contributors a year ago.

Clippers coach and general manager Mike Vandekamp said the rest of the team’s defencemen can fill “some of the void” left by the two offensive defencemen.

“We’ll have to wait and see how guys perform and who’s able to take on those roles,” he said. “We’ve got kind of a balanced mix of defencemen here, everything from the big and strong and physical to the more offensive guys.”

Vandekamp said he may try to acquire another veteran defenceman by the end of camp.

ICE CHIPS … Training camp opens Monday (Sept. 5) with the first on-ice session Tuesday at Frank Crane Arena. A camp preview will be published in an upcoming issue.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com