The Nanaimo Clippers want to fill Frank Crane Arena as much as they can, so they’re throwing open the arena doors.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League club announced Friday that children ages 12 and under will be admitted free for the rest of the 2013-14 regular season. Ticket prices for youths 13-18 have been reduced to $5.
The Clippers believe they are the only BCHL team to be offering this sort of bargain on ticket prices.
“It’s about turning the rink into the place to be in town,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
Ken Wagner, the team’s president, said junior hockey everywhere is struggling with declining attendance. He and the other owners think the Clippers are a good, exciting hockey club and they want the whole community to share in the fun and games.
“We have to work harder at trying to put more people in seats,” said Wagner. “Winning is going to do that for us. Mike’s worked very hard to put a competitive team together that’s going to allow us to fill the Frank Crane.”
Brendan Taylor, Clippers alternate captain, is from Nanaimo and liked coming to the arena as a kid to cheer on Tyson Mulock and Michael Olson and the 2003-04-era Clippers.
“I wanted to be a hockey player, so it was fun to watch them make plays, score nice goals,” he said. “It was just a great time all the time.”
Now that he’s one of those guys making those plays and scoring those goals, he sees what a difference the fans’ voices can make.
“Atmosphere’s a huge thing,” he said. “It definitely gives you some extra energy when there’s lots of fans in the building and if the building is going it makes you play better.”
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Alberni Valley Bulldogs tonight (Dec. 20) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Nanaimo then closes out 2013 with a road game Saturday in Duncan against the Cowichan Valley Capitals … For Clippers ticket information, please call 250-751-0593 or stop by the team’s office at Beban House at 2290 Bowen Rd.