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Normally when a U Sports hockey team brings in 12 new players, it’s called a rebuilding year… for the Acadia Axemen, 2018-19 is a year filled with optimism and high expectations. With an A+ recruiting year, the team feels they have every opportunity to make a march right back to the University Cup tournament this season, in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The players that graduated and moved on from the program were not only statistical leaders, but team leaders as well, and will be tough to replace. Gone from last year’s lineup is top scorers Boston Leier, Sam Fioretti, Remy Giftopoulos, Michael Clarke; along with the gritty play of Taylor Makin, Chance Braid, & Kris Hodge.
On the backend, all-stars Geoffrey Schemitsch & Matt Pufahl are gone, along with stalwart defenders Tyler Ferry & Stephen Woodworth. Starting goalie Robert Steeves also graduated from the program.
That’s a ton of scoring, heart, and experience gone. But cue the recruits.
Jackson Houck, who red shirted last year is now eligible to suit up and will be relied on to be an offensive threat every night for Acadia. Houck is a fourth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers and won an ECHL championship before joining Acadia last year.
Winger Maurizia Colella had a knack for putting the puck in the net for the OHL’s Flint Firebirds and will be relied on to do the same in the AUS. Niagara Ice Dogs alum Johnny Corneil, a two way centreman will give the Axemen stability and offense down the middle with Kyle Farrell, Rodney Southam and Owen MacDonald. Read more ›
WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Axemen opened their exhibition season with a 2-1 loss to the visiting Dalhousie Tigers.
Andrew Shewfelt, who was named the Subway First Star of the Game, scored 1:51 into the opening period on a high innocent shot that beat starting goaltender Dawson Carty over the shoulder for the early lead.
The Axemen responded at 11:14 in the first frame on a powerplay goal by Jackson Houck only eight seconds into the man advantage.
The Tigers and Axemen remained deadlocked at one through the second period. After two periods of play, the Axemen held a 24-21 shots on goal advantage.
Not until less than five minutes remaining in the period, did the Tigers score the eventual game winner. An easy feed from Mike Evelyn to Ashton Anderson gave Dalhousie the game-winning goal past Logan Fodell who split the game with Carty.
Outshooting the Tigers 36-28, the Axemen couldn’t score the tying goal against Reilly Picard in the closing minute with the man advantage on the pulled goalie.
The Axemen showcased 10 new faces tonight in their exhibition season debut. Newly minted team captain Liam Maaskant was optimistic on the season to come. Read more ›
The Acadia Axemen named their captains for the upcoming 2018-19 season, naming 4th year defenceman Liam Maaskant Captain. The 6’4″ hard-nosed defender from Clinton, Ontario is no stranger to wearing the ‘C’ as he also was captain of his OHL Junior team the Kitchener Rangers.
Assistant captains for this year’s campaign will be 3rd year defender Alex Lepkowski and 4th year forward Kyle Farrell. Lepkowski hails from Buffalo, NY and in addition to his 2 years playing in USports, Alex has spent time in the ECHL and AHL, and served as an assistant captain for the Barrie Colts in the OHL.
Farrell, a native of Howie Centre, NS, enters his 4th season in the league and will be counted on, up front, to provide scoring punch, along with AUS top scorer Stephen Harper, again this season. Farrell averaged over a point a game last season and is a leader both on and off the ice for the team. Farrell also served as an assistant captain with his QMJHL junior team, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns made the announcement following practice yesterday saying, “The coaching staff is extremely proud to announce Liam as our captain and Alex and Kyle as assistants for the upcoming season. To me it’s pretty simple when choosing your captains, you want to make sure they are people you would want your own kids, growing up, to emulate. These guys definitely fit this category. They are extremely well respected on campus, in the community, and in our dressing room. Being captains of the hockey team at Acadia brings with it responsibilities unique to other programs in the country. Our players are fortunate to be immersed in the community and our following is like no other. We are excited and confident that they will not only lead the team to great things throughout the season on the ice but off the ice as well.”
Catch the Axemen in their first pre-season game tonight at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville at 7pm as they face the Dalhousie Tigers.
The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome back to Evan Mosher to our hockey program as the team’s goaltending coach. Evan is an Acadia University alumnus who starred with the Axemen from 2011-2014, including leading the team to an AUS title and birth in the University Cup in 2014. Mosher was named to the AUS first all-star team, and the CIS/U Sports second all-Canadian team in that season.
Acadia Head Coach Darren Burns welcomed Evan back saying, “We are very excited that Evan will be joining our staff. He will be a great addition to our program. He was an extremely well respected teammate and he is an excellent teacher, so the transition into coaching will be seamless for him. As a former player here at Acadia and great leader in our program, the fact that we are able to bring in an Axemen alumnus, who knows the culture and expectations of Acadia Hockey on campus and in the community, is a great bonus.”
The Newfoundland native went on to play in the ECHL with the Quad City Mallards, teaming up with a fellow Acadia alumnus Kevin Baker, and then moved overseas playing in France with Gap and then with Denmark last season where he joined another Acadia alumnus in Brett Thompson. Mosher will also serve as the goaltending coach for the Valley Wildcats Junior A team this season.
Axemen Associate Coach Kris MacDonald added, “Anytime you can bring back a former Axemen like Evan it’s huge for the program and the Valley. He will be a huge asset for our goalies and will play a big role in our success. We are also very happy to announce that Evan, along with our Axemen goalies will be leading all the goalie development sessions for the Acadia Minor Hockey Association this season. Our program continues to take a lot of pride in its involvement in the development of youth hockey in the Valley. Evan’s expertise, dedication and commitment will be a huge asset for goalies in the Acadia minor hockey association and the surrounding communities.”
Welcome back to #AcadiaU and the Axemen hockey program Evan!
(Wolfville, NS) – Acadia University’s Department of Athletics announced Sunday that it will host a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League pre-season game featuring the Halifax Mooseheads and Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The game will be played at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville on Friday, August 24th at 7pm.
The Halifax Mooseheads 25th anniversary season will be highlighted by the 2019 Mastercard Memorial Cup in May. The Mooseheads last hosted the national junior hockey championship in 2000 and captured the title in 2013.
The Acadie-Bathurst Titan captured the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup hosted in Regina, Saskatchewan. It marked the first national championship in the team’s history. The Titan have an Annapolis Valley flavour including Cole Rafuse from Kingston and Robbie Dowell drafted in 2018 from the Valley Major Midget Wildcats.
Tickets ($12 adults and $7 youth 16 & under) are available now through the Acadia Box Office weekdays from noon to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday 1pm-4pm or via phone at 1-800-542-8425 or online at boxoffice.acadiau.ca. Proceeds from the game will support the varsity men’s hockey program at Acadia University.
AMHERST, N.S. – This past Wednesday, July 18, former Hockey Axeman Mark McFarlane ’95 along with two additional inductees were installed into the Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame (Oakland, CA) in association with CANSA (Cumberland African Nova Scotia Association).
From Amherst, N.S., McFarlane was a member of Acadia’s 1993 University Cup hockey championship team and graduated in 1995.
Prior to joining the Axemen, he played for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League from 1988 to 1991 where he won a Memorial Cup.
After Acadia, Mark turned to the professional ranks, suiting up for several teams in the Southern Hockey League, the United Hockey League, the Central Hockey League and the East Coast Hockey League.
McFarlane won three Colonial Cup championships (UHL and CoHL) with the Quad-City Mallards and retired from professional hockey in 2004.
His number 22 was retired by the Mallards and in 2010 and he was inducted into the Axemen Hockey Honour Roll. Mark won five championships from Junior hockey onwards. Read more ›
By John DeCoste ’77
When he arrived at Acadia in the fall of 2006, coaching in the NHL – or anywhere else, for that matter – wasn’t necessarily on Paul McFarland’s radar screen.
Now that he has been a coach for six seasons – most recently with the Florida Panthers during the 2017-2018 season – McFarland has come to realize that coaching “was what I really wanted to do.”
McFarland was back in Wolfville as a special guest for the 20th anniversary of the hockey Axemen celebrity dinner June 13.
He acknowledged that growing up and playing hockey in Richmond Hill, Ontario, he had the same dreams and aspirations as any other Canadian youngster – to hopefully one day play in the NHL.
McFarland played four seasons of major junior hockey – two full seasons with the Kitchener Rangers, one with the Windsor Spitfires, and one season split between the two teams. Never a great scorer, he was (and is) an outstanding leader, which continues to serve him well in his coaching career.
McFarland ended up playing 155 OHL regular-season games with Kitchener and 81 with Windsor. While at Acadia, he played 112 games and didn’t miss a game for four seasons. Read more ›
This year’s graduates may have raised the bar to a whole new level for the Axemen hockey program with two players signing AHL contracts, one with the ECHL, and 3 more signing contracts to play overseas in elite leagues.
Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns had this to say about the success of the graduating Axemen,“It is great to see so many of our players pursuing pro hockey once they have finished their degree. This year is a great indication of what opportunities are out there for players who work hard. There’s no question we want to create an environment where players can continue to grow their game once done their major junior careers. We are very fortunate that our department and institution has created an environment with an arena which is second to none in the country; a brand new professional dressing room with a state of the art weight room right beside it. It’s an exceptional culture for hockey. As we tell every recruit, Hockey Matters at Acadia and we are very proud of that. ”
Let’s run down the signings from the past year’s graduates:
Boston Leier – Belleville Senators – AHL
Bossy has led the Axemen with heart and skill for the past 4 years, after the University Cup last season, he signed an AHL tryout contract with the Belleville Senators and recorded 6 points in 8 games before returning to Acadia to graduate with his degree. It wasn’t long after that the NHL’s Ottawa Senators AHL affiliate team came calling, and Leier signed on with Belleville. At the Senators development camp earlier this summer, he led his squad to tournament victory, and will attend the main camp for the Ottawa Senators heading into the fall. The WHL alumnus, played his junior career with the Medicine Hat Tigers & Regina Pats before putting up 114 points in 111 regular season games with Acadia. Boston will look to be a big part of the success of the Belleville team this season. Read more ›