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The Clippers Hockey Society wishes to announce some information regarding the society. First is a list of the current board members: Jim Olsen – has lived in Nanaimo for 26 years, working at Fairwinds Golf Course for most of that time. Is a CPA, CMA and...


BECOME A MEMBER NOW AND SUPPORT YOUR NANAIMO CLIPPERS! The Nanaimo Clippers have been a thread in the fabric of Nanaimo for 45 years.  For the past 11 years, a group of business owners and dedicated hockey enthusiasts from other cities have funded the Cl...


Editorial from the Nanaimo Bulletin, April 25, 2017. Own a share of Clippers  Suddenly, owning a sports team isn’t some­thing that’s out of reach. Anyone can become an owner of the Nanaimo Clippers.  The city’s B.C. Hockey League fran...

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The Nanaimo Clippers Junior A Hockey Team is a significant part of life in Nanaimo. Since the franchise was founded in 1972, players, coaches, volunteers and fans alike have memories and never-before-told stories that contribute to the fabric of the team we cheer for today. We will share some of those stories in what we are calling "Legends & Locals."

When people say "hockey is my life," they're usually referring to how much they watch, how enthusiastic a fan they are or how many games they get to attend in person but for Nanaimo's Michael Olson, that often haphazardly 'thrown around' phrase is taken literally.
Olson grew up in Tisdale, Saskatchewan and came to Nanaimo to play for the Clippers in 2002. He stayed with the team until 2005 when he received a Scholarship to St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. From there, in 2009, he played for a year with Boise's Idaho Steelheads before returning to the Clippers as Assistant Coach, alongside Head Coach Bill Bestwick. He continued as Assistant Coach until 2013, under Mike Vandekamp.
"I was able to experience wonderful things because of the game of hockey," he says on the phone. "I've been overseas. I've travelled all over continental North America, and now I live in Nanaimo. I'm married, and I have a one-and-a-half-year-old son. Hockey was a tool for all of this."
In addition to hockey being a vehicle to create a life he loves, Olson says hockey was an opportunity to instil a sense of pride in the community.
"When we played, we were definitely the draw in town," he recalls. "I remember going to the grocery stores or the movies and being recognized by young fans and being asked for autographs." Olson continues to explain that the team saw themselves as ambassadors not only for the team but the city. "We had a gigantic sense of pride in the jersey and the colours we wore. There would be 2200 people at Frank Crane Arena on a Friday night, and that was a reflection on us. It's more than a game; it's a responsibility." He noted that the crowds at Frank Crane were equal to the entire population of his hometown of Tisdale. "People loved going to Frank Crane on Friday night. It was the place for the community to come and end their week.
Although the game paved the path of life for Olson, it didn't turn into a career for him. He always played the best game he could, and once you join the elite players in the collegiate leagues, he says it's as competitive as winning the lottery.
When I asked him if he follows hockey today, he laughs and reminds me he has a one-and-a-half year old. He does say that he finally gets to watch Hockey Night in Canada on a Saturday night and that as his son, Ellis, gets a little bit older, he's looking forward to introducing him to the live hockey experience at Frank Crane, and instil that sense of pride in his son.
Thank you, Michael Olson, for not only playing and coaching a great game of hockey but for being an ambassador for our city.

(written by Kait Burgan, photos by Michael Rhode)


For more information on the Nanaimo Clippers, and to become a member of the Nanaimo Clippers Society, visit www.nanaimoclippers.com. "Suddenly, it’s not out of reach to own a hockey team!"

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