The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club is entering its 49th season in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Players, staff, and ownership know this year is going to be a challenge during the coronavirus pandemic but are committed to making the season happen.
The Clippers are coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory. Winning the Island Division championship, sweeping the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the first round of playoffs, and recording two sellout crowds during the 2019-20 BCHL season to have the highest attendance in the Island Division.
Like everything else, that all came to an abrupt stop in March when COVID-19 hit our homes.
With COVID-19 still around in Nanaimo and area, the hockey club – that plays out of Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo – recognizes it needs to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus and make sure it’s a safe environment for players, staff, volunteers, billet families and Nanaimo residents.
“We know the risks of this virus,” Clippers General Manager Tali Campbell commented. “We know how quickly it can spread and we understand that an outbreak within our team could end up with severe consequences like illness and death. We have taken an aggressive approach to make sure we are doing everything we can to limit public interaction with our players and staff, taking all necessary steps in physical distancing and hygiene, and working with Health Authorities, Hockey Canada, ViaSport, the City of Nanaimo, and WorkSafeBC to make sure we are complying.”
The Clippers organization has been working tirelessly with all the Health and Governing Bodies to make sure the return to hockey happens in a safe manner.
“The steps we are taking are a bubble-like plan for our players that is following the concept of the NHL and NBA. Where they show up at the arena at 9 a.m. and are here till 5 p.m., all practices, gym, yoga, study sessions, lunch, etc. are all here. From there, they head to their billets where they stay for the night.” Campbell said. “We are working with a lot of our partners who are helping out. Like Dodd’s Furniture who are providing all the furniture for our player lounges, and the City of Nanaimo on the bubble plan in Frank Crane Arena. In April, our slogan turned to ‘In This Together,’ and this is truly showing with all the support we are receiving.”
All players will be given bags that include a mask that is to be worn at all times unless on the ice, hand sanitizer, their own labeled water bottle, and towel and disinfecting wipes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Players are expected to arrive in Nanaimo this week with Training Camp kicking off Sept. 8, then the team and league office are looking to have an ‘Exhibition Tournament’ in October and November in preparation for the regular season to start in December. All games will be televised on HockeyTV.
“We are working with our local partners again on making sure some restaurants will show the games during the exhibition schedule, while our social media will be ramped up with all the inside details fans want.” Campbell added. “The end goal for us is to provide an opportunity for our players to continue to fight for their dreams in getting a scholarship and playing at a higher level, while providing the entertainment and economic benefit to our city. All while doing this in a safe manner that prevents the spread of the virus.”
For all the latest details on the Nanaimo Clippers Training Camp, Roster Moves, Exhibition Schedule and more please visit www.NanaimoClippers.com.