The Nanaimo Clippers hold a press conference announcing the new ownership of the B.C. Hockey League club. Darren Naylor, left, is the team’s new head of hockey operations; Penny and Wes Mussio are the new majority owners, team president David LeNeveu remains a minority partner and coach and general manager Mike Vandekamp retains those roles. Greg Sakaki, The Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Trail native is new owner of Nanaimo Clippers

Trail’s Wes Mussio and wife Penny purchased the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL last week.

The new owner of the Nanaimo Clippers introduced himself to the community and made it clear that he wants to win.

The city’s junior A hockey team held a press conference Friday at Frank Crane Arena where Wes and Penny Mussio were officially announced as the new majority owners.

Wes Mussio, a Trail native, said he doesn’t plan to come in and “rock the boat,” necessarily, but he wants to see the team competing for an RBC Cup national championship within five years.

“What I want to do is take something that’s really good and move it on to the next level, and hopefully bring back some rings and some championships and some trophies,” he said.

The 53-year-old said he’s interested in owning the Clippers for the long term.

“Over time, I want to do more and more in hockey and less and less in business,” said the Vancouver-based lawyer and businessman.

Mussio told the News Bulletin that he signed an agreement with the league to keep the team in Nanaimo.

“The reason I signed that is because my view is Nanaimo’s one of the better hockey towns in British Columbia … You’d be a crazy person to move the team … I wanted to go to a market that I think is a good hockey market and Nanaimo’s a great one.”

Mussio also plans to open a branch of his law firm in Nanaimo and own a home in the Harbour City. He had owned the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, but had to give that up due to a Pacific Junior Hockey League rule preventing ownership in a competing league. Darren Naylor, head coach and general manager of that team, will join the Clippers as head of hockey operations, Mussio said, but Mike Vandekamp will be retained as coach and GM.

He said building back the fan base in Nanaimo will mean reinforcing the Clippers’ profile as a community-based team.

“If that happens, then suddenly people will show up and they’ll feel like they want to watch the team,” Mussio said. “The other thing is maintaining and ensuring a high-level product, so I plan to spend quite a bit more money on scouting and ensuring we have the top guys here.”

Naylor will continue as coach and GM of the Ice Hawks until season’s end, and says he’s already begun work with the Clippers.

“You have some ideas, ways you’ve done things in the past that have worked…” Naylor said. “It’s an evaluation process. We’re going to evaluate every aspect of this organization.”

Naylor said he’s scouted “high-end kids” and said announcements about player commitments could begin as soon as next week.

“With Wes, we’ve got a good owner here who’s going to really give us the resources to put the best team on the ice. He loves to win and he’ll spend the money to win. It’s going to be an organization that’s not cheap,” Naylor said.

The Mussio family will own 95 per cent of the hockey club, with team president David LeNeveu remaining a minority partner.

Mussio grew up in Trail, and along with his brother Russell, co-founded the popular Backroad Mapbook series in 1993.

Just Posted

Teck appeals $8.25 million U.S. court ruling

In August 2016 a U.S. judge ruled Teck must pay litigation and related costs for the Colville Tribes

Trail council bumps pay, others set to follow

Compensation is at the discretion of the municipal councils and can widely vary

Greater Trail volunteers welcome for free tax program

For those eligible, the free program runs in five locations from 9-11 a.m. until April 23

Tell the Times

Tell the Times is a web poll question based on one of our weekly stories

Creston became Sirdar, then Creston again

Creston was formerly called Sirdar, and Sirdar was formerly Creston. Or were they?

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

Southern Interior receives as much as 30cm of snow

Environment Canada report shows deep snow in the wake of storm

B.C. VIEWS: Subsidy supercluster settles in B.C.

Ottawa, Victoria add to their overlapping ‘innovation’ budgets

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada’s first ever men’s ski slopestyle medal

Men’s hockey team beats South Korea and women’s curling reverses losing streak

Most Read