Hard-nosed Clark Nelson finding way Chilliwack Chiefs

A tough 18 year old BCHL rookie, Nelson is the son of legendary Chiefs D-man Chad Nelson.

Nine games into his junior A career, Clark Nelson is still looking for his first point.

But don’t let the stat-line fool you.

The 18 year old is an important part of the 2018-19 Chilliwack Chiefs and the type of player you want beside you when the going gets tough.

Remember the 2016-17 Chiefs who went to a seventh game in the BCHL finals? Linden Hora had eight goals and 17 points in 51 games, but you could argue that the hard-nosed forward was one of the most valuable players in that playoff run.

Last year’s RBC Cup champions had Jared Turcotte, a player who posted seven goals and 11 points in 46 games, hardly eye-popping numbers. But in the playoffs and the RBC Cup, he was a banging, crashing disruptor for the Chiefs.

Nelson could be the same.

He could be better.

For now he’s finding his way.

“I understand there’s a lot of talented guys on this team, and everyone wants to play so sometimes I have to sit, but it’s not a big deal,” Nelson said. “When Brian (head coach Maloney) says I’m playing that night, it’s a really good feeling.”

Jacob Bestebroer has followed the Chiefs since day one and calls Nelson one of the toughest players he’s ever seen. The Cranbrook native posted 145 penalty minutes in just 34 games with the junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies last season.

“That’s a huge compliment,” Nelson said with a smile. “It’s special to have that said about you for sure. I like that and it’d feel good to say that’s accurate.”

Toughness takes many forms.

It’s laying out hits and taking them.

It’s wading fearlessly into board battles and fighting through mammoth defenders on your way to the net.

And it’s dropping the mitts.

“To me it’s standing up for your teammates, being willing to drop down and block a shot, being willing to go the extra mile,” Nelson said. “Every little thing you can do out there is a big energy boost for the boys because other guys see that and think, ‘He’s willing to do that, so let’s all get in gear here.”

Clark comes by his sandpaper game naturally.

Father Chad Nelson was a tough-as-nails defenceman who played for Chilliwack in 1994-95, racking up 209 PIMs in 45 games.

“He said it (Chilliwack) was going to be amazing for me, and because he played here he knows what he’s talking about,” Nelson noted. “He’s got a lot of photos from his Chiefs days and even more stories.

“The best piece of advice he’s given me is to keep my head up, no matter what.”

The thing with Clark is that he’s not all about toughness.

Like Hora and Turcotte, he’s got enough untapped skill to become a player who can pop a puck in the net from time to time and add scoring depth.

Here’s head coach Brian Maloney’s assessment.

“He’s surprising us with his hands and his high IQ and he’s making a lot of plays,” the bench boss said. “We’re excited about that, and he’s aware of the things he needs to work on — the footspeed and the pace of this league compared to where he was before.

“It’s early and he’s been in and out of the lineup, but we’re definitely excited to have him here.”

Nelson got his first fight under his belt during a Sept. 16 home game versus Surrey, trading punches with towering Eagles forward Brayden Shaw.

Shaw stands six-foot-four.

Nelson is six-foot-one, but the Chief held his own, impressing the hometown crowd.

“That was the moment that presented what my game’s about,” he recalled. “You can’t be scared going up against a big guy like him. You’ve got to be calm, not go in flailing your arms and just be steady.

“He got a few good shots in and I got a few good shots in. It was good and I thought it was a huge momentum turn in that game (Chilliwack won 4-2, scoring twice after Nelson’s scrap).

— Nelson’s Chiefs visit Coquitlam tonight (Friday) and play home games Saturday against Surrey (7 p.m.) and Sunday against Vernon (2 p.m.).

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack

Family Day weekend powwow a colourful, vivid celebration of Indigenous culture

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Lucas Mannes and Calgary Dinos through to Canada West basketball semi-finals

The GW Graham grad helped his Dinos drop the Winnipeg Wesmen in a playoff series last weekend.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Chilliwack Chiefs end BCHL regular season with meaningless road trip

The regular season champs travel to Prince George this weekend with nothing on the line.

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read