The start was simply, first find a rink and in this case it was the Burnaby Winter Club, then bump into an individual who would help shape your dream into reality.
The dream of owning a Junior Hockey Team for Wes and Penny was a BCHL franchise and preferably in the lower mainland, but that was short lived.
The Coach that would help get them on the way to this dream was Aldergrove’s Darren Naylor who worked with Devin to help him reach his goal, even at an early stage.
Not only would this be a stepping stone for Wes and Penny but lead to the eventual ownership of the Nanaimo Clippers, one of the longest and most successful franchises in the BCHL, formerly known as the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.
The history of the league dates back decades and in the 70ties there were actually two Junior “A” leagues in the lower mainland that saw them compete at the conclusion of the season for a BC champion.
The history is more of a legacy in the Province, given the number of players that have come through the various clubs/teams and advanced to play at the pro level or even play in Europe.
Just over a year ago amidst much speculation or a possible relocation after the purchase, Wes made officially stated publicly that the club would NOT move and would indeed remain in Nanaimo.
Wes stated recently “as part of our family’s long term goal of giving back to hockey in British Columbia, Penny and I wanted to move up from Junior B hockey as owners to Junior A. We saw a great opportunity in Nanaimo and although we were really looking to purchase a team after our son (Devon) finished his Junior A career, the opportunity was too good to turn down. With that in mind, we purchased the Clippers and have been extremely happy ever since.”
Challenging for Wes and Penny, indeed it was as the team had simply lost touch with the community “feel” with community support on the decline.
In the last two years, they have worked hard to find the perfect mix of individuals and first up was to locate a Head Coach.
I was hearing that once the sale was complete the previous coach seemed to be at odds with the new ownership and apparently refused to take calls, but that would soon change.
Wes hired Darren Naylor as the Head Coach after much discussion with Eduard Epstein, owner of the Delta Ice Hawks as Naylor was their “bench boss” and this made an interesting senario that would eventual play out.
Both parties were professional in how they handled the situation and once Delta secured a coach, Naylor was set to move on.
Next for the Clippers was to hire help for Naylor and he welcomed both Colin Birkas and Ken McPhalen, who was the Delta Ice Hawks goalie coach.
They hired Tali Campbell, who was with Alberni and a long-term resident of Nanaimo, to be the Manager of Business Operations as of December 2018.
I am hearing that over the next two years, plans are to make the facility a first class rink with the addition of a video replay screen and other improvements.
Ownership continues and is committed to work hard to secure the National Championship as well as quite possibly the 2020 BCHL Showcase.
Wes mentioned “some critics have said that this is a short-term venture for the family which is definitely far from the truth. We’ve invested a tremendous amount of money into the arena and purchased a family home in Nanaimo as we plan to be here for many years to come. You can be rest assured that the necessary financial support will be behind the Clippers to help the hockey team continue to excel on and off the ice. With the current staff at the Clippers, I’m very optimistic about the future.”
We first met Wes and Penny as owners of the Delta Ice Hawks as they are the only Junior “B” franchise in Canada to have games televised on a weekly basis on Eastlink/Delta TV.
Sportswave has had an extensive relationship with Wes and Penny and wish they nothing but success for the years to come.For More Information:
For additional info contact Tali Campbell, Director of Business Operations