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

OPINION SIG
EDITORIAL: High job numbers seem overly rosy

Hard to believe there’s so much more employment in hardest hit sectors

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at David Cameron Elementary School. People may have been exposed on April 14 to 16. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Colwood elementary school

Exposure at Esquimalt’s Ecole Victor-Brodeur also confirmed

Saanich is calling for public input on the three design options for the youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich seeks input on designs for new bike park

Three concept plans to choose from feature pump tracks, jumps, trails

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Most Read