In his third year as a center for the British Columbia Hockey League’s Nanaimo Clippers, Brendan Taylor has blossomed into the team’s top scorer.
In a couple of seasons, Union fans will get to see what kind of player Taylor can be for the Dutchmen.
The 18-year-old Taylor recently committed to Union for the 2015-16 season. Taylor, who is 6-foot and weighs 190 pounds, leads the Clippers in scoring with 23 goals and 32 assists in 56 games.
“I’ve been talking to [Union’s coaches] for a while, since the beginning of last year,” Taylor said. “I looked into the school, and it’s a good academic school and, obviously, their hockey team is doing really well this year. The program is only getting better. It was definitely a school I wanted to go to.”
NCAA rules prohibit Union coaches from commenting on potential recruits because they haven’t been officially accepted by the school.
Taylor is a native of Nanaimo, British Columbia, so he is getting to play for his hometown team. In his first two years with the Clippers, he had 15 goals and 12 assists in 106 games.
Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp has a good explanation for that.
“He started with us as a pretty young player,” Vandekamp said. “Not very many 16-year-olds play in this league. He kind of paid his dues a little bit his first couple of seasons. Last year, he started to find a little bit more of a role.
“This year, it’s been a real big year for him just because we have a younger team, and he’s one of our veteran players. He’s been asked to play a much bigger role this year. All in all, he’s stepped up and continued to grow as a player and mature.”
Taylor leads the team in game-winning goals with six. He’s tied for the team lead in short-handed goals with two, and is tied for second in power-play goals with seven.
“It’s been a great experience for me,” Taylor said. “I live in Nanaimo, so it’s really nice to play for my hometown [team]. Over the past couple of years, I didn’t play much. I have a bigger role on the team [now], so I’ve gotten more ice time. I’ve gained a lot of confidence, and that’s what led me to having the year I’m having this year.”
Taylor expects to improve next season before heading to Union in the fall of 2015.
“I would like to do even better and become a better player before I come to Union,” Taylor said.
Union received a commitment from Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Minn.) high school defenseman Ben Newhouse for the 2016-17 season.
Newhouse, a junior, had five goals and 28 assists in 24 games this season. He had 10 power-play points.
Last year, the 5-8, 165-pound Newhouse had two goals and 15 assists in 25 games.
Newhouse will play one more year at Benilde-St. Margaret’s before heading to a junior team.