New captain will steer ship

Defenceman Scott Prier has been chosen to wear the ‘C’ for Nanaimo’s B.C. Hockey League team.

The Nanaimo Clippers’ new team captain Scott Prier says he thinks the team is close to getting on a roll in the B.C. Hockey League.

The Nanaimo Clippers’ new team captain Scott Prier says he thinks the team is close to getting on a roll in the B.C. Hockey League.

The Nanaimo Clippers feel they’ve found the guy to lead them through thick and thin.

The city’s B.C. Hockey League club announced this week that Scott Prier will be team captain for 2013-14.

The squad waited more than a month to make its decision, and Prier skated with the ‘C’ on his sweater for the first time in last night’s game in Victoria.

“It’s obviously a great honour on any team you play on,” he said.

The 20-year-old defenceman is a newcomer to Nanaimo, having played previously with the LaSalle Vipers just outside his hometown of Windsor, Ont. He’s quickly getting used to the pace of play in the BCHL.

“It’s a lot more intense, faster, guys are stronger. It’s a bit of an adjustment, but not a big one,” Prier said. “You’ve got to play positional hockey and follow the system. If you get running around in this league, you’re going to get caught and scored on.”

Mike Vandekamp, coach of the Clippers, said Prier has played with the consistency that’s required in a team captain.

“He carries himself with a pretty good level of maturity and confidence,” said the coach. “He’s definitely a reliable player, a player we’re going to be leaning on a lot for important minutes on the ice.”

Prier makes smart decisions in his own end, but has a particular flair offensively and will be a major contributor on the power play.

Still, he said he doesn’t necessarily feel any more pressure to score key goals in crunch time just because he’s captain.

“There’s a lot of guys that are looked upon to score big goals on this team,” he said. “The letter on my shirt doesn’t mean that [I have to].”

He said his coach told him just to keep doing what he’s been doing.

“I think you have to be yourself. You can’t get outside of who you are,” said Vandekamp. “We named him the captain because we believe in who he is as a player.”

And though the Clippers (4-5) were below .500 going into the long weekend, Prier believes his team has a chance to achieve its goals in 2013-14.

“There’s tons of potential,” he said. “We’re going to get on a roll.”

GAME ON … The Clippers host the Cowichan Valley Capitals tonight (Oct. 12) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, then host the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday (Oct. 16) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane … The club named Colton Dahlen, Brendan Taylor and Devin Brosseau as alternate captains.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com