The NHL is showing hockey can happen in a pandemic and the BCHL is anxiously anticipating game action in the fall.
The B.C. Hockey League is releasing team scouting reports to try to build excitement for the 2020-21 campaign and featured the Nanaimo Clippers this week.
The Clippers were the Island Division’s regular-season champions in 2019-20 and Darren Naylor, the team’s coach, said the experiences of last season will help the veterans bring some intangibles this fall.
“The culture of winning is important,” he said in the report. “When you have guys that have been around some success and seen what it takes and have learned from some of the older guys that were in the room, that’s huge. You can’t really teach the culture of winning. You have to be in that environment and see the little things and nuances that it takes to win.”
The Clippers allowed 2.3 goals against per game last season, second-lowest GAA in the league, led by goalie Jordan Naylor who posted the third-best save percentage in league history at .935 and had six shutouts, one off the league record.
“In most leagues he’s stepped into, there’s been a year for an adjustment period and then he figures things out and makes those adjustments,” said Darren Naylor. “He’s always been able to have success thereafter. There were good steps that he took last year and we’re looking for him to make even bigger strides this year.”
The scouting report lists 15 new recruits to watch.
Carter Rose is described as a blue-chip defenceman who was recruited by a lot of BCHL teams after leading his U.S. prep school in scoring last season. Ben Dexheimer is another two-way defence prospect to watch and Michael Palandra, Colton Kitchen and Kabir Gill are experienced junior A defencemen joining the team.
Up front, the Clippers will have a lot of size up the middle as Naylor said he projects all the centremen making the team will be 6-foot-3 or taller. A prospect coming from the States is 6-foot-7 Kyle Van Compernolle, who scouts say is well-suited to the Clippers’ style of play.
Alec Scouras was a high scorer with West Van Academy last season and the Clippers have seen that he plays a 200-foot game. The team is also high on Nick Desantis, who has played at both the USHL and NAHL levels in the States and whose “skill level is through the roof.”
Brody Waters, who played junior B in Ontario last year, is a big, strong goal scorer, the Clippers say, and they project him as a top-nine forward right away. Shaun Mahoney is a prospect who will add scoring and tenacity and other new additions to the forward lines include Kai Daniells, Jaeger Murdock, Elijah Devereaux and Maxwell Dukovac. Tyler Schleppe, a BCHL vet, is a big centreman who the Clippers say fits the mould of what the coaching staff likes.
The Clippers will open training camp Sept. 8 and will play an Island Division exhibition tournament in the fall before the BCHL regular season starts in December.