Home ice special for Clippers’ captain

Brendan Taylor, who is from Nanaimo, leads the Nanaimo Clippers of the B.C. Hockey League in his last year playing in the city.

Nanaimo Clippers veteran Brendan Taylor takes over as team captain in his final year in the orange and black. Taylor is from Nanaimo and is the longest-tenured member of the Clips.

A decade ago, he watched his hometown Nanaimo Clippers win a championship, excite on the ice and fill Frank Crane Arena.

Now he has a chance to help make those kind of memories for the next generation of hockey fans.

Brendan Taylor, chosen captain of the 2014-15 Nanaimo Clippers last week, will lead his team onto the ice for its home opener this Friday (Sept. 26).

It meant a lot to the Nanaimoite to get the ‘C’ on his sweater.

“To wear it for the Nanaimo Clippers, it’s in my hometown and I’m extremely honoured to be able to do that, especially with it being my last season,” he said.

The 19-year-old, in his fourth year with the Clips, has committed to attend Union College, an NCAA Div. 1 school, next fall.

First, though, he gets to try to take another stride in the orange and black. He’s already got 164 career BCHL games under his belt. He started as a checker and rounded out his game, leading the team in goals (23) and points (55) last season. Now he adds the captaincy to his list of roles and responsibilities.

“I’m hoping it’ll help Brendan go from being a good player to a great player in our league,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “With more accountability and needing to really push himself to be a leader by example, I think it’s going to help his game.”

The coach said the new captain is a smart player who understands the Clippers’ team concepts.

“I think I’ve got to be more of a leader,” Taylor said. “I’ve got to step outside my comfort zone, be more of a vocal guy – I’m kind of a quiet guy – and lead by example on the ice and off the ice.”

With responsibility comes expectations. The Clippers want results from Taylor and he recognizes that.

“Maybe you put a little bit of pressure on yourself and maybe a little bit more is expected sometimes, but you’ve got to learn to play with pressure,” he said.

He’s seen the rewards. He was watching in the stands as past Clippers captains came through in the clutch. And now, a fresh sheet of ice at Frank Crane Arena awaits the exploits of Taylor and his teammates.

“After a long summer not having played in this building in a regular-season game, it’s nice to get back,” he said. “Definitely the positive energy in the building will be a good thing for the guys to experience.”

GAME ON … The Nanaimo Clippers hold their home opener Friday (Sept. 26) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena against the Powell River Kings. The Clips are home again the next night to take on the Victoria Grizzlies in another 7 p.m. faceoff at Frank Crane. For ticket information, please phone 250-751-0593 or visit www.nanaimoclippers.com.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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