’Tis the season when Santa Claus decides which boys and girls have been good or bad this year.
The young men on the Nanaimo Clippers have been a little of both, winning and losing hockey games and compiling a 16-12-0-5 record at the B.C. Hockey League’s Christmas break.
The team hasn’t found the consistency it wants, but the Clips are in fourth place in the Coastal Conference, so they hold down a playoff position.
“We’ve kept ourselves in the battle and we have lots of improving that we can still do, so I’m expecting that our team will continue to improve in the second half,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach and general manager.
Coming off a pair of wins, the Clippers see positives and negatives to a 10-day holiday.
“We needed a break. You usually do by this time of year,” said the coach. “We’ve been pretty demanding of our guys. All year we’ve asked lots from them.”
The time is also useful from a healing standpoint, Vandekamp said.
But days away from the rink can feel like lost opportunities, too.
“A hockey coach isn’t a huge fan of a break of this nature because we’ve got lots of work to do when we get back, in short order,” said Vandekamp. “But it’s just the way it is. We’re just going to have to work as hard as we can quickly when we get back.”
GAME ON … The next action for the Clippers is a road game Wednesday (Dec. 28) against the Coquitlam Express.