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

Shorthanded Trail Smoke Eaters end rough road trip

The Trail Smoke Eaters drop all three games of Mainland Division road trip

CP Holiday Train headed to Castlegar

The festive food bank fundraiser will take place December 12.

Kootenay communities owe names to Chinook jargon

Place Names: Taghum, Lebahdo, Sitkum Creek, and Chahko Mika come from pidgin trade language

Trail police looking for tips to identify vandals

Greater district detachment reports several business were tagged with spray paint

WorkSafeBC investigating serious incident at Trail landfill

Incident shuts down McKelvey Creek landfill Friday morning

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read