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

Discipleship is indeed exacting, as are the questions that arise from reading such a text: Am I in the game God has called me to? Photo: Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash
In the Game

Am I in the game God has called me to?

Pioneer Arena is closing for the season. Photo: John Boivin
Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena and Nelson Civic Centre closing for season

RDCK is closing the ice at two of its arenas due to financial concerns related to COVID-19

West Kootenay communities like Rossland are transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. Photo: Mathew Roland/BBJ
Rossland commits to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050

“It’s a really unique plan, and we have to go forward, we have to go to a low carbon future.”

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read