LANGLEY, B.C. – The BC Hockey League Board of Governors has approved the purchase of the Nanaimo Clippers franchise by Northern Lights Hockey Canada LLC from Wes Mussio.
Northern Lights Hockey Canada is headed by Brad Kwong, a western Canadian-born investment professional with a long history in the sport of hockey as a player, executive and team owner. Kwong, who is a former NCAA hockey captain while at Harvard University, also heads up the group which owns the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL and is the former Chairman of the USHL’s Board of Governors.
“As a Calgarian who spent his summers in BC, I’m excited to spend a great deal of time on the island. But I’m more excited about the opportunity to work with our staff and the Nanaimo community to establish the Nanaimo Clippers as one of the preeminent junior hockey franchises in North America. We have a proven track record in Dubuque implementing a strategy that brings major league processes to the junior ranks. An integral element of that process requires investing in the local community to make the team, the City’s team.” said Brad Kwong.
Kwong spearheaded the return of the Fighting Saints to USHL play in 2010–11, winning the Clark Cup in their first year back in the USHL. The Fighting Saints also earned the Clark Cup for the second time in 2012-13. The Fighting Saints have reached the Clark Cup Final three times since the organization’s return, and have made it to the Clark Cup Playoffs for eleven consecutive seasons. The Fighting Saints have also been the catalyst for over $700,000 donated to local charities in the Dubuque area.
“My partners have a distinct interest and passion for the sport of hockey, especially at this level and with the NCAA pathway for development. Creating an elite platform for players, hockey staff and business staff to move on to bigger and better things is what drives us. In Dubuque, we have been guided by the principle that all our decisions are predicated on what’s best for the player, staff member, business partner and fan. We hope to follow that same principle in Nanaimo.” added Kwong.
The BCHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale after a vote last week. Northern Lights Hockey Canada will assume ownership of the team immediately.
“The Nanaimo Clippers are one of the league’s most storied franchises,” said Chairman of the BCHL Board of Governors Graham Fraser. “With their rich tradition already in place and a new ownership group coming in, we are excited to see what’s in store for them in the coming years.”
On the ice, the Clippers had thirteen NCAA Division 1 commitments on the roster last season. Over 2020-2022 the team had sixteen straight playoff wins on route to the BCHL Final and a Coastal Conference title this past season. The Clippers are one of the longest-running BCHL teams and just celebrated its 50th anniversary. The franchise has won the Fred Page Cup five times, most recently in 2007.
Kwong added “I’d like to thank Wes personally for his generous assistance in working through the transition of ownership and equally, for establishing a strong platform of hockey excellence during his time as owner of the Clippers. We are eager to build off this base, the momentum of the organization and the fantastic community support that exists.”
The Clippers are looking forward to hosting an event in July where fans, sponsors, media, and other key stakeholders can meet with new ownership and Clippers staff.
About the Nanaimo Clippers
The Nanaimo Clippers are a Junior “A” hockey team based in Nanaimo, British Columbia and one of 18 member clubs of the BCHL. Founded in 1972 the team is entering its 51st season. Playing out of the Frank Crane Arena, with a seating capacity of 2,400, the Clippers are defending BCHL Coastal Conference champions. The franchise has won the Fred Page Cup five times, most recently in 2007. Over 250 Clippers players have earned NCAA Division 1 scholarships and 26 alumni have played in the National Hockey League.
About Northern Lights Hockey Canada, LLC
Northern Lights Hockey Canada, LLC, is the entity that will own and operate the BCHL organization in Nanaimo, BC. The owners of Northern Lights Hockey Canada, LLC, collectively provide an extensive background in both hockey and business, and they represent interests on national and local levels. The ownership group is spearheaded by Managing Partner Brad Kwong, as well as, a distinguished group of successful businessmen and investors. The group includes Joe Carrabino, an All-American basketball player at Harvard University, whose two sons competed at the NCAA level in ice hockey and Brett Barakett, an investment professional with strong hockey roots in Montreal, Quebec.