The Wanderer Grounds podcast: Dan Nimick is making a case for Defensive Player of the Year | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Halifax Wanderers defender Dan Nimick eyes the ball during a match against Valour FC on Aug. 26, 2023.

The Wanderer Grounds podcast: Dan Nimick is making a case for Defensive Player of the Year

The Halifax Wanderers defender is doing all the little things right—and is a big reason why his club has conceded the fewest goals in the Canadian Premier League.

Two weeks ago, a well-followed Twitter account better known for shedding light on the next young talents to suit up for the likes of Liverpool and FC Barcelona made an unexpected detour to let its 180,000 followers in on a secret. But instead of fawning over a fleet-footed winger from Rio de Janeiro or a hard-nosed midfielder from Manchester, The Secret Scout (as the popular page is called) was abuzz about the prospects of a 22-year-old defender for the Halifax Wanderers. Unlikelier still? That defender was born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador (pop. 8,040).

It is a testament to Dan Nimick’s wünderseason with the Wanderers that the English-Canadian centre-back who spent his college years in Western Michigan has been catching the eye of front offices in both Major League Soccer and overseas. No other player—save for goalkeeper Yann Fillion and midfield wizard Lorenzo Callegari—has been deemed so indispensable to Halifax’s success by head coach Patrice Gheisar: In Nimick’s first season as a professional, the 22-year-old hasn’t missed a single minute of action through 21 Canadian Premier League games.

On Saturday, Aug. 26, in front of a rain-soaked crowd at Wanderers Grounds, the young defender delivered yet another highlight-reel performance for Halifax, scoring the first of the Wanderers’ three goals in a 3-0 blowout of visiting Valour FC. In the 49th minute, Nimick headed home a cross from left-back Wesley Timoteo to break the scoreless stalemate and kick-start a late-game Wanderers surge.
click to enlarge The Wanderer Grounds podcast: Dan Nimick is making a case for Defensive Player of the Year
Trevor MacMillan / Canadian Premier League
Nimick celebrates a Halifax Wanderers goal against Valour FC on Aug. 26, 2023.

“We knew that if we were going to get one [goal], it was going to set up the opportunity for the second... The real key was Dan continuing to do what Dan does,” Gheisar told reporters after the match.

Nimick now has four goals on the season—tied for most of any Wanderers player—and has scored in back-to-back games for Halifax as the club has climbed to fourth place (tied on points with second-place Pacific FC and third-place Atlético Ottawa, but a win short of their opponents). The timing bodes well for the defender’s CPL awards contention; he might well be the frontrunner for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Only Cavalry FC’s Daan Klomp has earned more Team of the Week nominations at centre-back (7) than Nimick (6).

In this week’s Wanderer Grounds episode, Coast reporters Matt Stickland and Martin Bauman recap the Wanderers’ 3-0 win and discuss Nimick’s ascendance, João Morelli’s continued hot streak and where they figure Halifax will finish come playoff time. Plus: What CPL club is in need of a relocation?

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About The Authors

Martin Bauman

Martin Bauman, The Coast's News & Business Reporter, is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Capital Daily, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. In 2020, he was named one of five “emergent” nonfiction writers by the RBC Taylor Prize...

Matt Stickland

Matt spent 10 years in the Navy where he deployed to Libya with HMCS Charlottetown and then became a submariner until ‘retiring’ in 2018. In 2019 he completed his Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King’s College. Matt is an almost award winning opinion writer.
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