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.”
This week, we catch up with fan-favourite, Sheldon Rempal.
There’s no denying that Sheldon Rempal is an exciting player but when asked just what it is about how he plays that fans love so much, you can almost see him blushing through the telephone.
“I was maybe a little bit of a flashy player,” he admits. “I like to have the puck on my stick and make plays. I try to make the most creative plays that I can to score goals and win.”
It’s this kind of razor-sharp focus that is going to carry Rempal through to the NHL, and it would seem, that is his next step.
He’s on scholarship at Clarkson University in New York State right now, playing for the Clarkson Golden Knights in the NCAA. He’s wearing #11, the same number he had as a Clipper and the same number his brother had in recreational hockey. He played forward for the Clippers; three seasons from 2013-2016.
Rempal is working on a Business Major, with one year down and three to go but the way things are shaping up, he might get signed before the three remaining years are up. Last year, he had a pro trial with the Calgary Flames. “It was a good experience to come out of juniors like that, and have the recognition,” he says. Rempal has been invited to go to Washington Capitals Camp this summer, for seven days.
At 21-years old, he credits some of his success to his time in Nanaimo. “I spent three years there, and I love the people and the town. I met wonderful billets and I really just can’t say enough good things. I fell in love with the Frank Crane Arena. It was my favourite place to play in the league.”
Rempal acknowledges Head Coach Mike Vandekamp for having a very large impact on his growth as a player. “We still talk from to time,” Rempal says. “He expects a lot. I learned right away that there’s no pity for you. He’s there to win but cares about you. If you respect Vandy, work hard and play your hardest every day, you’ll be successful.”
As far as continuing to be a flashy player, Rempal says, “I’ll play the same all my life. I’ll probably never change that.”
Some photos by: Gary Dorland
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For more information on the Nanaimo Clippers, and to become a member of the Clippers Hockey Society, visit www.nanaimoclippers.com.
“Suddenly, it’s not out of reach to own a hockey team!”