Nanaimo Clippers goalie Evan DeBrouwer makes a save against Powell River Kings opponent Cam Donaldson during a game at Powell River last month.

Nanaimo Clippers goalie Evan DeBrouwer makes a save against Powell River Kings opponent Cam Donaldson during a game at Powell River last month.

Goaltender shakes off the cobwebs after brief retirement

Nanaimo Clippers goalie Evan DeBrouwer earned his first BCHL win Saturday against the Powell River Kings.

Junior hockey GMs acquire players from a lot of different places, but it isn’t often they bring in guys out of retirement.

That was Evan DeBrouwer’s unlikely path to becoming a Nanaimo Clippers goalie. After backstopping his Smiths Falls Bears junior A team to the playoffs last winter in Ontario, DeBrouwer decided to hang up his skates and focus on school.

Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach and general manager, tried to coax the 19-year-old to come to B.C. this past off-season, but DeBrouwer declined the invite and enrolled in college in London, Ont. A couple weeks of school had him second-guessing his decision.

“I just missed hockey so much,” he said.

He called up Vandekamp and asked if the offer still stood, and it did, and he headed west. One problem – the BCHL season was already well underway and DeBrouwer wasn’t exactly ready.

“He’s literally coming out of retirement…” said Vandekamp. “This is a true story: he actually had cobwebs on his pads when they came out of his bag when he got here.”

DeBrouwer lost his first three starts and said it took him some time to adjust to game speed after his brief retirement. He earned his first BCHL win Saturday, making 32 saves against the Powell River Kings as that team’s seven-game win streak was snapped.

“I’ve felt good in practice for a couple weeks now, it’s just bringing it into a game that was the challenge,” DeBrouwer said. “Tonight I finally felt really comfortable out there.”

Also during Thanksgiving weekend, the Cowichan Valley Capitals took over top spot in the Island Division as they beat the Kings 5-2 Sunday at Duncan’s Island Savings Centre.

GAME ON … All the Island Division teams play their next games Friday (Oct. 14) The only game on the Island that night sees the Caps play the Victoria Grizzlies for first place in a 7 p.m. matchup at the Q Centre. The Kings visit the Coquitlam Express, the Clippers visit the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs travel to play the Prince George Spruce Kings.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com