NANAIMO — Recruiting season is underway for the Clippers with three player additions in the past two weeks.
Last week Nanaimo added 18-year-old defenseman Jeremy Gervais from the Cariboo Cougars of the BC Major Midget League.
He was the leading scoring d-man in the league with 49 points in 37 games.
Shortly after it was announced he was commiting to the Clippers, Gervais won the best defenseman award at the Telus Cup national midget championship.
The Telus Cup wrapped up on Sunday and already he's playing in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Duncan for Team BC.
Gervais won't be the only Cariboo Cougar on the Clippers in the fall as his teammate Tyler Maser has also agreed to come to Nanaimo.
The rugged 18-year-old winger had 21 points in 31 games in the 2016-17 campaign.
With four points he and Gervais were the co-leading scorers for Cariboo at the Telus Cup.
Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp said he likes the idea of bringing in recruits from the same team.
"I think it can give you a little bit of a head start on chemistry both on and off the ice. It can only help. Especially if the players are coming from really successful programs that have done some consistent winning. The kids understand what it takes to win and the commitment necessary to be successful," Vandekamp said.
The latest addition to the team is U.S. born defenseman Ben Pirko.
He's also 18 and spent last season playing varsity hockey for Avon Old Farms prep school.
Pirko had nine points in the 16-17 campaign and is committed to Union College of the NCAA in the future.
Vandekamp said he saw Pirko play at the U-18 Nationals in Pittsburgh.
"Ben skates very well. He's a very good all around player. He's got offensive upside, moves the puck well, and shoots the puck well," Vandekamp said. "I think he's going to be the type of player who can play a lot of minutes for us. He's as committed to the offensive side as the defensive side. I was also really impressed with the character he has."
The Clippers head coach has had the advantage of getting to see more players face-to-face this season because Nanaimo had a shorter playoff run.
Getting back to the calibre of the Island Championship squads of 2015 and 2016 will rely heavily on the success of this recruiting window.
The next month will be a critical time for player commitments with probably a handful of high level recruits still to be announced.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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