Nanaimo Clippers, a junior ice hockey team based in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, have a rich and storied history in the world of hockey. Over the years, the team has had its fair share of both memorable wins and devastating upsets. These moments have not only shaped the team’s legacy but also captivated and inspired hockey fans all over North America and around the world.
Founded in 1971, the Nanaimo Clippers have been a part of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) for almost half a century. With a strong focus on player development, the Clippers have produced numerous NHL players including Glenn Anderson, Paul Reinhart, and Cliff Ronning. The team has also won three BCHL championships and four Doyle Cup titles, which is awarded to the top junior A team in Western Canada.
But it’s not just the team’s success on the ice that has grabbed attention throughout the years. The Clippers have also been a part of some historic upsets and wins that have left a lasting impact on both the team and its fans. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most unforgettable moments in Nanaimo Clippers history.
The Miracle on Ice
In 1980, the Nanaimo Clippers were part of what is now known as the Miracle on Ice. The team was scheduled to play against the US Olympic hockey team, which at the time, consisted of amateur players. It was a friendly exhibition game, and no one expected it to be anything more than a routine win for the Olympic team.
But the Clippers, led by head coach Lorne Henning, had other plans. They put up a strong fight and ended up beating the heavily favored Olympic team 7-5, shocking the hockey world. The win brought a sense of national pride to Canada and proved that anything is possible with determination and teamwork.
The Victory in Vernon
The 2004-2005 season was a memorable one for the Nanaimo Clippers. After finishing fourth in the BCHL standings, they faced off against the first-place team, the Vernon Vipers, in the league championships. The Vipers were heavily favored to win, having only lost six games the entire season.
But the Clippers had other plans. Led by captain Brock Ellis, goalie Chad Lang, and coach Paul Cross, the team pulled off the upset of the year, defeating the Vipers in seven games and claiming the BCHL title. This win not only proved that the underdog can come out on top but also marked the third time in Clippers history that they were named BCHL champions.
A Devastating Loss
While the team’s victories are remembered and celebrated, there have also been some tough losses in the Clippers’ history. In 1988, the team was vying for the league championship against the Vernon Lakers. After defeating the Lakers in six games, the Clippers were just one game away from claiming the title.
But in a heartbreaking turn of events, the Lakers won the seventh game, ending the Clippers’ season and leaving fans devastated. It was a tough loss to swallow, but it also showed the team’s resilience in the face of defeat.
The Comeback King
In 2008, the Nanaimo Clippers were once again in the midst of a historic upset in the playoffs. This time, they were facing the Victoria Grizzlies, who had dominated the BCHL that season. After dropping the first two games in the series, the Clippers were down and almost out.
But they bounced back, winning four games in a row and taking the series in six games. This comeback win is still regarded as one of the greatest moments in BCHL history and a testament to the team’s never-give-up attitude.
The Legacy Continues
Today, the Nanaimo Clippers continue to inspire and captivate fans with their impressive on-ice performances. They have a dedicated fan base who have supported them through the highs and lows of their journey. With a strong coaching staff and talented players, the team continues to make their mark in the BCHL and the hockey world.
From the Miracle on Ice to the unforgettable comeback against the Victoria Grizzlies, the Nanaimo Clippers have given hockey fans plenty of memorable moments to talk about. These historic upsets and wins have not only shaped the team’s legacy but also showcased the resilience and determination of the players and coaches who proudly wear the Nanaimo Clippers jersey.