The Nanaimo Clippers aren’t in rebuilding mode after this past spring’s run to the finals.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League club has the opportunity to bring back many more veterans than expected for the 2015-16 season.
Most notably, top goal scorer Sheldon Rempal is expected back with the Clippers. He and Devin Brosseau have committed to attend NCAA Div. 1’s Clarkson University, but the forwards will defer their scholarships and play another year of junior.
Yanni Kaldis, an all-star defenceman with an NCAA commitment to Cornell, is also expected back in Clippers colours this fall.
“Originally we thought we were going to lose Brosseau, Remps, Yanni, probably [Edwin] Hookenson, now everybody’s back,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach and general manager.
Rempal’s 29 goals last season were 10th best in the BCHL.
“He’s been one of our top offensive producers for two seasons,” Vandekamp said. “I would expect to see nothing but improvement. He’s going to be bigger, stronger, more mature. He’s going to be a very, very big part of our team, so we’re lucky to have him back for another season.”
The GM said he’s known all off-season that veterans would be returning and has taken that into consideration with his recruiting.
With so many vets back in the mix, it’s created a complication – the Clippers are well over the limit for 20 year olds. Aside from the four aforementioned players, other 1995-born returnees include Kale Bennett, Ryan Coghlan, Jacob Hanlon, Anthony Rinaldi, Corey Renwick and Ryan Forbes.
“We’ll probably make a trade or two. Don’t get me wrong … we do not want to move any of these guys,” Vandekamp said. “It wasn’t like we did this on purpose. It was a bit unexpected. It’s a good problem to have.”
GAME ON … The BCHL regular season starts Sept. 12 and Nanaimo’s home opener will be Sept. 18. For season ticket information, please visit www.nanaimoclippers.com.