An Island Perspective with Dan Marshall



Being around the BCHL for a while now I’ve been able to enjoy first hand some of the rivalries. In the Interior the Penticton/Vernon rivalry has been going since the 1960’s. Even in the years when they aren’t close in the standings it’s still special.

During the 2004 playoffs I was able to work the Coquitlam Express/Chilliwack Chiefs series and even though it didn’t have the same long history, that rivalry between the Express and the Chiefs was big – and even though they both play in different cities now the hatred is still there.

After a move for me in 2007 I was introduced to the Cowichan/Nanaimo rivalry. When those two teams play it’s intense, usually close and there’s a tonne of physical play and emotion.

In an early season game last year multiple fights broke out at the end of a Clipper victory that saw players and coaches suspended on both side and spurred on some great quotes in local newspapers. That set the tone for what was an exciting season series with Nanaimo winning six times and Cowichan winning three. As someone watching these games you look forward to it because you know it’s going to be like a playoff game, nobody takes a shift off and you usually leave with something memorable to talk about.

Clipper Head Coach Bill Bestwick told me recently that Cowichan was his favourite road building to win in and added, as he often does, a colourful quote. “If we go were to go 10 and 50 but win all of our games against Cowichan, we’d still consider that a good season.”

Now of course he’s exaggerating, and the astute observer would note that this year the two teams actually play each other twelve times, but it does drive home the point just how much these games mean.

The first two battles this season were both 4-3 affairs with Cowichan winning in Nanaimo and vice versa. The Caps won their game in overtime on a Zach Currie goal and Nanaimo had to survive a furious final minute to spoil Cowichan’s home opener. If the final ten meetings come close to the first two then the fans are in for a real treat.

I think we all believe the rivalries we are personally involved in are the best but from what I know of BCHL rivalries I would rank them this way:

1. Salmon Arm/Vernon

2. Nanaimo/Cowichan

3. Vernon/Penticton

4. Burnaby/Langley

5. Prince George/Quesnel

What’s your favourite BCHL rivalry? Email

Dan Marshall, the radio voice of the Nanaimo Clippers, will be blogging the BCHL's Island Division during the 2008/09 season. Check back often for Dan's insights and the latest news from Vancouver Island.