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Nanaimo Clippers will bring determined effort to BCHL home opener

Clippers make their return to Frank Crane Arena this Friday, Sept. 30
Nanaimo Clippers goalie Aidan Campbell makes a save during pre-season play. The Clippers’ home opener is Friday, Sept. 30. (News Bulletin file photo)

The Nanaimo Clippers won both their games to start the season and now they get to skate onto home ice and get acquainted with fans at Frank Crane Arena.

The Clippers play their B.C. Hockey League home opener this Friday, Sept. 30, versus the Powell River Kings.

Colin Birkas, coach and general manager, has generally been happy with this year’s group, but acknowledged he’s seen the good and the bad, the sharp and the not-so-sharp through the pre-season and start of the BHCL season.

“We talked about it during the game, after the games, and we’re going to talk about it this week – what worked for us, what didn’t work for us, why we got off-script,” he said. “That’s going to happen, and the other team’s going to push, too.”

He said the Clippers will be a fast, intelligent and hard-working group and will be a team that fans will be able to identify with and will enjoy watching.

Nanaimo scored nine goals its first weekend – three of them by Kai Daniells – and Birkas said the team should be able to continue to find ways to score.

“But I think it’ll be more by committee than sitting back and watching one line play … or relying on a power play to get hot,” he said.

Captain Michael Craig anchors a blueline with four returnees and some promising newcomers and starting goalie Aidan Campbell will be supported by Shane Shelest in the crease.

Birkas said with 10 returnees from the group that made it to the BCHL finals last spring, the home opener against the Kings this week will be a good opportunity for Clippers fans to offer another round of applause and for returning players to reflect for a moment, and then turn the page together to 2022-23 and concentrate on this season’s team.

“Home openers are always a lot of fun, especially if you win,” said the coach. “I know Powell River’s going to do everything they can to prevent that but we’ll be ready for them.”

GAME ON … The Clippers’ home opener is this coming Friday, Sept. 30, when the Kings visit Frank Crane Arena for a 7 p.m. faceoff. The Clips are also at home Saturday, Oct. 1, to take on the Victoria Grizzlies at 7 p.m.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Clippers start BCHL season with two wins

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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