Nanaimo Clippers players Jordan Naylor, left, and Trevor LeDonne drop off letters at the office of Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, asking for her support as the team asks for reconsideration of provincial health orders banning 19-20-year-olds from practising and playing sports. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo Clippers players Jordan Naylor, left, and Trevor LeDonne drop off letters at the office of Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, asking for her support as the team asks for reconsideration of provincial health orders banning 19-20-year-olds from practising and playing sports. (Photo submitted)

Junior hockey team in B.C. pleads for an opportunity to play during pandemic

Nanaimo Clippers’ owner questions science behind public health orders

With more and more of the hockey season slipping away, at least one junior A team in B.C. is pleading with public health officials for a chance to play.

Junior hockey is on hold as current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines prevent adults from practising and playing games. The B.C. Hockey League recently announced that it won’t start the season until sometime in the new year, and is investigating the option of playing the season in a ‘bubble’ in a host city, possibly Penticton.

In the meantime, the Nanaimo Clippers are appealing to politicians and public health officials to reconsider or adjust guidelines to accommodate junior hockey.

Clippers owner Wes Mussio pointed to the team’s 18-game exhibition season this past fall, which he said was safe and socially distanced and resulted in no COVID-19 exposure.

“Yet Dr. Bonnie Henry decided to shut us down on no evidence or science,” Mussio said in a press release. “Simply put, this decision is hard to understand.”

He added that players’ aspirations of moving on to college and pro hockey are being “severely compromised” and that the outlook is bleak for players in their final year of junior eligibility.

“I doubt anyone can argue, in good conscience, that destroying careers of young [athletes] is perfectly acceptable for the greater good,” Mussio said.

Darren Naylor, coach and general manager of the Clippers, agreed that the “lockdowns” on sports are “catastrophic” to athletes. He said junior hockey shouldn’t have the same pandemic restrictions as men’s league hockey, for example.

“We are a very professional, high-level training program where the players act like pros and do not run around going to parties and bars socializing,” Naylor said in the release. “They’re very committed and realize minimizing exposure to the public is the safest way to ensure a season.”

The Clippers shared copies of letters sent by No. 1 goalie Jordan Naylor and veteran defenceman Trevor LeDonne to Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, pleading for her help in asking for reconsideration of the provincial health order banning adults from team sport participation.

“Without being able to practise or compete and prove myself deserving of a scholarship, I feel my dream slipping away,” Jordan Naylor wrote. “As a 20-year-old, I have no more time. It’s now or never for me.”

story continues below

Mussio also wrote to Malcolmson requesting her support in reconsideration of that particular public health order, as well as asking for financial support from the province. He said in the release that the hockey club is losing “hundreds of thousands of dollars this year” and predicts junior A hockey franchises will fold in 2021.

He added that smaller communities like Nanaimo are harmed without the “joy” that hockey games bring.

“I’ve heard from many hockey fans that coming to a Clippers game is the highlight of their week and without hockey, their mental health is declining,” Mussio said. “I don’t blame them because this is our national sport and not being able to enjoy it is a tremendous sacrifice.”

READ ALSO: BCHL postpones regular season until new year



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCHLCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford hotdog-stand owner starts campaign to find kidney donors and recipients

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

The Harrison Hot Springs Resort. Visitors to the resort currently pay a three per cent “hotel tax,” which is brought back to the district to help fund tourism initiatives. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Harrison hoping to expand hotel tax to Kent, parts of Fraser Valley

The expanded area would bring in more money for Tourism Harrison marketing

Dallas Lajimodiere is wanted by the Abbotsford Police Department.
Man wanted by Abbotsford Police domestic violence unit

Dallas Lajimodiere has three arrest warrants, including for assault with a weapon

Subm
Mission art gallery re-opens after 10 months

‘People are in need of some visual things just to take them away’

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

Brandon Nathan Teixeira, charged in connection with a fatal 2017 shooting in South Surrey, is to return to court Feb. 2, 2021. (File photos)
Pre-trial conference set for accused in 2017 South Surrey killing

Brandon Nathan Teixeira set to return to Vancouver court Feb. 2

(Pxhere)
B.C. nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Most Read