Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Trevor LeDonne during a game last season at Frank Crane Arena. (Corey Shaw/Nanaimo Clippers photo)

Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Trevor LeDonne during a game last season at Frank Crane Arena. (Corey Shaw/Nanaimo Clippers photo)

Nanaimo Clippers’ persistence pays off with condensed hockey season

New captain Trevor LeDonne and his team excited for games

It was a long wait for the season, but soon, a whole bunch of hockey will happen in a short amount of time.

The Nanaimo Clippers and 15 other B.C. Hockey League teams will play a pandemic-shortened 2021 season during April and May. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs will host a four-team ‘pod’ which will also include the Clippers, Cowichan Valley Capitals and Victoria Grizzlies.

Clippers coach Darren Naylor said he’s anticipating three to four games a week.

“It’s going to be a blitz,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of games and it’s going to be hard [for our players], but they’ll take it; they’re so excited to play.”

The BCHL season was saved in the nick of time, Naylor said, as he thinks a few more days and the league would have had to pull the plug.

“I figured sooner or later [the season] was going to come, but it was just running out of time for how long we could keep our players here and continue to practise,” he said.

Going so long without game action was “getting really tough” on the Clippers, said the coach.

Nanaimo won the Island Cup exhibition tournament in the fall, but right after that, health and travel restrictions were intensified and hockey games couldn’t happen.

Team captain Trevor LeDonne was one of the graduating Clippers who wrote to Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson at Christmas time pleading for an opportunity to play hockey.

“We were just trying to keep every option open and talk to as many people as we can for them to hear what we had to say, especially us 20-year-olds because it’s our last year of junior…” LeDonne said. “It was frustrating not being able to play, but with what’s going on in the world it’s understandable and we’re just glad we can get these 20 games in.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Clippers win Island Cup exhibition tournament

Now that the Clippers have the chance to play some more hockey, they’ll try to win as many of their games as they can. The Clippers are in quarantine this week as they transition from a team that wasn’t allowed to a compete to a team that’s intent on defending its Island Cup trophy.

“I think with the pieces we have, we’ll still have the same Clippers identity and the same team when the season starts and I think we’ll be one of the top teams in the league again, for sure,” LeDonne said.

He said it was an honour to recently be named the team’s new captain and sees it as a reward for the leadership he’s shown.

“I always used to lead by example and talk in the room and on the ice, but I think it’s more of a mentor role now for the young guys,” he said.

Naylor said LeDonne deserves the captaincy and said the defenceman is an “old-school player who shows up and works hard and is capable of logging a ton of ice time. LeDonne is “grumpy at the best of times,” said his coach, and no fun to play against.

“He competes hard and he holds players accountable and if you’re going to be lazy, he’ll let you know,” Naylor said. “He’s a natural choice for the position.”

The coach said the Clippers have been fortunate to have had “leadership by committee” emerge during a challenging time.

“They knew they were in something together and nobody was giving up,” Naylor said.

GAME ON: The 2021 BCHL season will start the first week of April, though the schedule hasn’t yet been released.

READ ALSO: Port Alberni to host Island Division for BCHL’s 2020-21 season



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo singer Victoria Vaughn recently released an EP with local producer Austin Penner. (Photo courtesy Taylor Murray)
Nanaimo singer and recent VIU grad releases EP about becoming an adult

Victoria Vaughn’s ‘Growing Pains’ recorded with local producer Austin Penner

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Air Canada, Harbour Air flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Rebates through Clean B.C.’s Better Homes New Construction program are available, says the City of Nanaimo. (Vancouver Island University photo)
Energy-efficient home builds in Nanaimo eligible for up to $15K in rebates

All building permits issued on, or after, April 1, 2020 eligible, says City of Nanaimo

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Heidi Sinclair, executive director of Nanaimo Community Kitchens, left, accepts a $13,500 donation from 100-plus Women Who Care Mid Island, represented by Nahanni Ackroyd and Shannon Gorgichuk. (Photo submitted)
Caring women in Nanaimo give generously to community kitchen society

100-plus Women Who Care Mid Island donate $13,500 to Nanaimo Community Kitchens Society

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read