Local go-to guy

Qualicum Beach’s Kyle Kramer takes his hard working style to the Nanaimo Clippers — and it’s paying off

Kyle Kramer savours the victorious feeling of bulging the twine

Kyle Kramer savours the victorious feeling of bulging the twine

That a kid from Qualicum Beach has become such a key player for the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given the close proximity, but the truth of the matter is Kyle Kramer is trail blazer in that regard.

Kramer, 19, is in his third season with the Clippers, and goes into the Christmas break sitting second in team scoring with 21 goals and 17 assists for 38 points in 33 games.

Contacted in Nanaimo, Mike Vandekamp, GM and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club, had good things to say about his feisty forward.

“Great kid. He’s not the biggest guy out there but he plays a lot bigger than he is,” Mike said of the 5’10” 185 pound forward, adding “his number one asset is his work ethic. He’s just a hard working guy. He’s a strong, compact, physical player — most of his success comes from his tenacity and again, his work ethic.

“He’s tough on the puck … he’s physical, he’s aggressive-natured and he has a really good shot. He’s definitely known not only as one of our hardest working players but as one of the hardest working players in the league, and he brings a lot of intangibles to the table too,” said Vandekamp, 39 and his 17th season of coaching junior hockey. “Kyle brings a lot of life to the dressing room (and) we use him in all situations, on the penalty kill, on the power play — he’s basically out there in all key situations whether we’re up a goal, down a goal … he’s definitely one of our go-to guys.”

“The thing I’ve always found interesting in Kyle is that he’s a Qualicum boy but we joke that he plays like a kid from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, like a prairie boy … I never thought of Qualicum as being a hockey hotbed, but he’s got to be one of the better players to come out of there.”

An added bonus about having a kid from Oceanside in the lineup is that he puts people in the seats.

“For sure — it’s important for us as an organization to make sure we mow our own back yard before we go out looking somewhere else,” said Mike, adding that “when we can get a player from our own region that’s a contributor it’s a big plus.”

“We work in a open recruiting league,” he said, explaining that, “geographically we can’t protect a player which means they can play wherever they want, so for him to choose our program is a bonus.”

“Kyle’s incredible determination and work ethnic are such admirable qualities,” says Clippers’ media girl Jen Kennedy, who has strong ties to the Oceanside Generals Junior Hockey Club and has watched his progress both as a player and as a person.

Kramer was named the BCHL’s Player of the Week Nov. 6 after leading the Clips to two wins in three games and earning first star honours in each of the victories.

According to an earlier report out of Nanaimo, Kramer began the week with two goals and two assists in a win over Victoria, and finished up with a goal and three helpers in a comeback win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

“He’s a fan favourite, no doubt about it … fans always relate to that guy that wears his heart on his sleeve. He gets under the oppnents’ skin with his style, so he finds himself in altercations on a regular basis.”

Vandekamp, who made the jump to Nanaimo to replace former coach Bill Bestwick, is coming off a four year tour with the Grand Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

On and off the ice, he says, “Kyle’s a focused and grounded guy. He knows what he wants — he wants to go to college and be a college player, and I think he can reach that goal.”

Kramer has one more year of eligibility left with the Clippers;

“This is the best season he’s had so far numbers wise, I think the goal is to have a commitment from a Division 1 school before the end of the season then come back and play out his final year. I know he’s been talking to some schools (so) the process is under way.”

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Kramer said this week when The News finally caught up with him.

He confirmed he’s already set a career high in goals, and is also close to passing his total points from last year already.

The big reason for the upswing in his offence he said, “is that I’m playing with some really good line-mates, and they’re also giving me lots of opportunities. They’ve got me out there in all sorts of situations, so any time you can get that much ice obviously you have the chance to put up some numbers.”

Kramer concedes he’s always been more of a grinder than a goal scorer, and makes the point “I still play the same style, I’m just getting more opportunities and I’m cashing in more often.”

Kramer said he’s looking forward to some quality family time over the holiday season, and to resting his body for the final push before the playoffs.

“It’s a grinding schedule, so anytime you get a chance to get away from the rink for a few days it helps.”

The family moved here from Fernie, B.C. when he was about nine and he played his minor hockey here. He says he can’t recall ever not wanting to play for the Nanaimo Clippers, and points to the Oceanside Generals as a great starting point.

Kramer, who has an older brother and a younger sister, laced up for the hometown Generals in 2008/2009 season as a 16-year-old when the team won the VIJHL Island championship and went on to compete in the Cyclone Taylor Cup.

“That was a great experience,” he said, adding “I learned a lot that year and it was a great springboard for me.”

Kramer said he’s never felt the pull to play away from home, and has no plans on pulling up stakes in his final season of Jr. A.

“As a kid growing up and going to Nanaimo to the games you always dream, always hope one day you might get the chance to play for the Clippers … I like being near my family and friends.”

“He’s in a class all of his own,” Oceanside head coach and GM Dave Johnston answered when asked if any other local player has gone where he has.

Home grown forward Brett Corcoran he points out had success with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters and continues to have success in college Saint Scholastica in Michigan.

“For me the best description of Kyle is he’s old school,” said Johnston, adding “he plays the game on a level of intensity that very few young players ever get to. Humble, grounded — he’s all of that and then some. He’s the type of young man, the type of hockey player, that really represents the sport and the league in a positive light.”

 

 

 

GAME ON

The Clippers’ next home game is Friday, Jan. 6 (7 p.m. start) against the Langley Rivermen.

The Clippers head into the Christmas break at 16-12-5 for 4th in the BCHL’s 8-team Coastal Conference and riding a modest two game win streak.

“Consistency, that’s what we’re looking for. We’ve only got six players that played on the team last year so we’re certainly a new group there are only four teams in our conference that make the playoffs, so that’s our goal.”

 

sports@pqbnews.com

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Map of the site of a proposed 60-unit building project in French Creek. (RDN map)
Legal counsel wants board to award development permit for French Creek project

Issue is on agenda for RDN board meeting on June 22

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read