Catching Up with Axemen Hockey

Coach Burns shares off-season insight

Photo credit: Peter Oleskevich – PJO Photography

As June comes to a close, the Acadia Axemen are midway through their off-season and preparations continue for the upcoming 2022-23 season. We caught up with Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns to catch up on the program happenings throughout the spring and summer months:


Q: It has been a couple months since you hosted UCup at Acadia, reflect on what that experience meant for the team and for the community.


A: The university cup experience was excellent for our players. After the last two years it was great for them to experience true crowds and the buzz for hockey here in the Valley. As you know the following here is unlike any other in U Sports. It’s a continuation of the major junior experience for these players because the team is also entrenched in community. Also, alumni representation was very high. I really hope the excitement of the event will continue to bring people in the building this year.


Q: You’re in the midst of a large recruiting off-season. Let us know where you are in the process.


A: We are very happy with where we are at in the recruiting process, and we feel we have added many new key pieces. We are still active in the process as we had quite a high turnover, with players leaving for pro last year. We are excited about our additions, but the work is not done.


Q: With the current players and the new recruits in mind, what type of team will the Acadia Axemen be when the puck drops on October 5th for the 2022-23 season?


A: We feel we will be a very hard-working team, who will be able to play a strong defensive game. We needed to upgrade the offensive component to our game and playing on a big ice surface it’s crucial to be able to skate. These are key elements for us. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what type of team we will be; however, we think it’s crucial that work ethic and passion needs to be our staple.


Q: The Axemen summer hockey camps are on the horizon, share what those camps mean to you and the players who help to run the camps?


A: It’s hard to believe, but our hockey camps will be starting in just a few weeks, in late July. These are crucial for our team and give our players an opportunity to be together and work with youth in the community. An education outside the classroom I think you could say. Enrolment is very high, and I think this is due to the excellent support we get from the community, our players commitment, and most of all Associate Coach Kris MacDonald and his tireless commitment.


Q: The annual Harvest Wealth Friends of Acadia Hockey Golf Scramble has officially sold out, what does the support of so many Valley businesses and professionals mean to the hockey program?


A: Our Harvest Wealth Friends of Acadia Golf Scramble has become a staple for our program. It is sold out again this year and it just shows the support we get from our major sponsor and so many other businesses in this community. It’s crucial for our program and a great event to bring players and community together. This is another great example of the tremendous support we get from the Valley community.


Q: After 2 years of ‘pandemic hockey’, explain the buzz of hopefully a ‘normal’ season this year?


A: We are very excited in preparing for the upcoming season. After the past two years of fragmentation. It is going to be incredible to prepare for this season. I know our team is excited. Unfortunately, last season didn’t come close to meeting our standards as a program. This falls solely on me. I personally look forward to getting started. Our hockey alumni, fans and university deserve elite performance. We’ve discussed this as a team in April. This off-season has been one of anticipation for a chance to prove ourselves.

Thanks to Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns for catching us up on everything Axemen this off-season.

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