Thunder Adds Acadia Product Makin

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Wichita, KS (Sept. 14th) – The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, AHL’s Bakersfield Condors and powered by Toyota, announced today the signing of forward Taylor Makin.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play for the Thunder,” stated Makin. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Coach Cameron and am looking forward to playing for him. I’m excited to play in Wichita as I’ve been told awesome things about the fans, the organization and the city and I can’t wait to get the season started!”

Makin, 25, turns pro after playing the last four years at Acadia University (USports). A native of Blairmore, Alberta, the 6-foot, 202-pound forward collected 19 points (6g, 13a) and 147 penalty minutes in 71 career games for the Axemen.

“Taylor is a high energy, physical presence on the ice,” said Head Coach Malcolm Cameron. “He plays 100 miles an hour, 100% of the time. We look forward to seeing his energy in a Thunder jersey.”Read more »

Edinburgh Capitals sign Canadian forward Dylan Anderson

Story courtesy by Ross Dewar
The 26-year-old, who can play both wing and centre, has signed his first professional contract having spent the last five years playing in the Canadian University League – last season with Queens University following a four-year spell with Acadia University, where he was a team-mate of Caps recent signing Mike Cazzola.
Anderson revealed Cazzola, last season’s East Coast Hockey League rookie of the year, was instrumental behind his move to the Capital and now the duo can’t wait to team up again at Murrayfield. “The team contacted me a while back and things were all worked out pretty quickly,” Anderson explained. “We [Anderson and Cazzola] played four years together at Acadia, he’s a tremendous player and a big part in me deciding to come to Edinburgh. He was a big reference for me, which I appreciate, and we’re both excited to be back playing together and help Edinburgh win games.”
Anderson looks the ideal replacement for Taylor MacDougall, who last month asked to be released from the second year of his contract, and appears to revel in the workmanlike role that is so important to any team craving success.
Asked to describe himself when on the ice, Anderson said: “I’m a big skating centre-man who can play a strong game defensively, and I’m good in all three zones. I’m reliable, good on the penalty kill and strong on face-offs.” Last season Anderson bagged ten goals and eight assists in 38 appearances as Queens University reached the play-off quarter finals. He now hopes he can replicate that kind of form with his new club.
He said: “They’ve told me they like the fact that I can play wing or centre and that I can jump on to that third line and just play my game and do what I do best, playing strong defensively and killing penalties.

“I’ve always wanted to play professionally in Europe, this is a big goal of mine.”

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Heelis Looking to Make an Impact for Fife

Story courtesy of the Fife Flyers

Fife Flyers sponsored by Arnold Clark Mercedes-Benz are delighted to confirm the signing of Canadian forward, Liam Heelis.

Heelis joins Flyers having just finished a Masters Degree in Sports Psychology at McGill University in Montreal. Heelis brings versatility to the line-up being able to play in all 3 forward positions.

Heelis was part of the Owen Sound Attack side that captured an OHL championship in 2011, having spent the previous 3 seasons playing with Peterborough Petes.

Over his 4 years in the OHL, Heelis iced in 265 games scoring 56 goals and 66 assists.

Despite not playing last season due to commitments completing his Masters degree Heelis, 26, has spent the previous 5 seasons icing in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport league with Acadia University from 2011 to 2015, being named team captain in his final 2 seasons, as well as icing for McGill University in 2015/16.

During his 5 years in the CIS Heelis iced in 160 games scoring 72 goals and 96 assists.

In 2013/14 Heelis was awarded the CIS Player of the Year, just one of many awards he picked up that season, including a gold medal at the University World Championships with Team Canada playing alongside Lucas Bloodoff, older brother of new Flyers signing Evan Bloodoff.Read more »

Thompson signs with Herlev Eagles

He came, he saw, he dominated. And now he heads to Denmark to likely do the same for the Herlev Eagles.

Axemen coach Darren Burns expressed his excitement for Thompson saying, “We are extremely excited for Brett to have earned this contract. He has had a tremendous five years here for our our program. His statistics over the five years speak for itself and I believe he has earned a spot among the all time Acadia greats. His big game performances will always stand out in my memories of Brett as a player. He has developed into an excellent leader. There are many of our current players who chose our program because of their time they spent with Thomper when visiting Acadia. To me that speaks volumes about a players impact and what their peers think of him.”

Brett Thompson skated the past 5 seasons as an Acadia Axemen and he was a dominant force in University hockey. In 141 regular season games Thompson put up 151 points, including 60 goals. The 5’8” sniper was not only a regular season threat, in 30 post season games, Brett put up 29 points including 9 goals over his CIS career.

After a successful junior career in the OHL, the Sault Ste. Marie native came into the CIS with a bang, earning AUS All Rookie Team honors in 2012/13 with 26 points in 28 games. 2013-14 saw Thompson skate on arguably the most dominant line in CIS hockey with Liam Heelis and Mike Cazzola. The trio put up 117 points in the regular season, with Heelis taking home awards for top player in the nation. Acadia won the AUS championship for the season. 2014-15 was Thomper’s time to shine, scoring 19 goals and 38 points in 28 regular season games for the Axemen, and being named an AUS first all-star team member and a CIS All-Canadian second team member.Read more »

Axemen Alumnus & Former Captain hired in Florida

Acadia alumnus Paul McFarland, who suited up for the Axemen from 2006-2010, has been named assistant coach with the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

Axemen coach Darren Burns reflected on the Panthers hiring and his time coaching McFarland saying, “We are absolutely ecstatic about his new position with the Florida Panthers. It couldn’t have happened to a better person. We all knew at Acadia that Paul was destined to coach in the NHL, but to see it happen at such a young age shows what he has already accomplished in his short coaching career. He is arguably the best leader I have encountered in sports.

In spending 1 hour with him as a 20 year old when he played for the Windsor Spitfires, I knew he was a guy we needed to lead our program. His work ethic, passion, and integrity, make everyone around him better everyday. “

Paul was the captain of Acadia for three years and shared his thoughts on his time at Acadia back in 2010 in this clip:

After an impressive 3 years as head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, McFarland joins the Panthers coaching staff with head coach Bob Boughner.

Congratulations to Paul on behalf of Acadia hockey!

Below is the media release from the Florida Panthers website.
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Capitals sign prolific forward Mike Cazzola

A big #AcadiaU congratulations to alumnus Mike Cazzola who has signed a 2 year deal to play overseas with the EIHL’s Edinburgh Capitals!

Even more impressive, Mike has enrolled at the Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh in the highly regarded MSc Physiotherapy program for the next 2 years. Back to being a student athlete Mike!

Axemen Coach Darren Burns had the following to say about Cazzola, “Mike is an extremely dynamic and cerebral player. His hockey IQ is very high which enables him to be an excellent play maker. Mike’s creativity will instantly make players around him better. He also possesses a strong competitive nature which will contribute to the team’s overall success.”

23 June 2017 – Story below courtesy of

Prolific Canadian point scorer Mike Cazzola has signed up for the Edinburgh Capitals On a 2 year deal.

From Guelph, Ontario Mike Cazzola joins the Capitals straight from a hugely successful rookie season in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). The forward was the top point scorer for his club the Fort Wayne Komets, and was also the top point scoring rookie in the ECHL with 76 points (30 goals and 46 assists) in just 67 games. Voted on to the ECHL All Rookie All Star team, Cazzola ranked joint 11th overall in the league for point scoring in his first season in the highly competitive league.

Cazzola’s junior career saw him score 225 points in 219 games, the majority with the Erie Otters from 2008-2012.

He then attended Acadia University from 2012 to 2016 and continued to post impressive numbers scoring 133 points in just 107 games for his University. He was voted Rookie of the Year in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS AUS) league in 2012-2013, and followed this up the following year by being voted onto the First All Star team. He then followed this up with two Second All-Star team awards in his final two seasons with Acadia. Over his four seasons attending the University he was never out of the top two in scoring and was top scorer twice.
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Acadia Hockey ecstatic with selection

The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads announced today their new head coach, Jim Midgley. Valley hockey fans will remember Midgley from his days as an assistant coach with the Acadia Axemen from 2003-2007, along with the countless Valley hockey school programs he has taken part in for the area.

Axemen head coach Darren Burns reflected on Midgley’s new opportunity saying, “There was never any doubt that Midge was born to be a coach. He was a natural leader and had a tremendous hockey IQ as a player and he had a tremendous impact on our program here at Acadia as a coach.

He was a natural on the bench at the university level, but he can also carry the same abilities to help impact youth. To me that’s what will make him an excellent major junior head coach. A great hockey mind, but even more so, someone who cares about the kids development on and off the ice. That’s what Midge does.”

Burns concluded with a heartfelt thought shared by many in the hockey community saying, “To me it’s exceptional to see someone who has worked hard to achieve his goal and he has done it with hard work and integrity. There’s not a person in the game of hockey who isn’t ecstatic about Jim’s appointment today. The skies the limit for him.”

From everyone at Acadia Hockey, congratulations Midge!

Below is the press release from the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads:

Halifax Mooseheads General Manager Cam Russell announced today that Jim Midgley has been named the 10th Head Coach of the franchise.

“I’m very excited to be able to name Jim as the Head Coach today. He has been with the team for a long time and has put together an impressive resume. I think he is the perfect fit to take over behind the bench for the Mooseheads,” Russell stated.

Midgley is entering his seventh season on the Mooseheads bench after serving as an Assistant Coach under Dominique Ducharme from 2011-2016 and Andre Tourigny last season. He has also worked as an Assistant Coach with the Saint John Sea Dogs and Acadia Axemen and has held multiple roles with Hockey Canada and Hockey Nova Scotia.Read more »

Coaching changes announced for Valley Wildcats hockey in Berwick

Original Post - ©Gary Manning (file)

BERWICK – There will be a new head coach calling the shots from the Valley Jr. A Wildcats’ bench next season.

The Valley Wildcats Hockey Club issued a press release April 14 to announce that Nick Greenough is walking away from the role of head coach, a position he’s held for four years, “to spend more quality time with his young family.”

Greenough will, however, continue to work as the general manager of the three Wildcats teams, with a focus on operations.

Travis Young, a former player and assistant coach with the Acadia Axemen, has been selected as the new head coach of the Jr. A club.

“While at Acadia he was named second team AUS all-star and CIS all-rookie team member after leading all AUS defencemen in scoring during his freshmen year. He also attended an Ottawa Senators training camp, but was forced to retire due to concussion issues,” a statement on the Valley Wildcats website reads.

Young is no stranger to the Wildcats, spending the last two seasons leading the bantam team and functioning as an assistant coach at the Jr. A level.

Andre Lefebvre will step up as the new head coach of the Major Midget Wildcats, and Sam Foster will become the director of player personnel.

Lefebvre has spent the last 15-plus years coaching high-level hockey, including spending some time in the AUS league with the St. Mary’s Huskies.

“In addition to his coaching duties, Andre has also worked as an Atlantic Scout for Val D’Or and Shawinigan in the QMJHL, and is presently the Nova Scotia Scout with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL,” a Valley Wildcats release reads.

Foster has been involved in Jr. A hockey for more than 20 years.

“Having Sam on our side makes us instantly better. Nobody puts more time in recruitment and scouting in Atlantic Canada than Sam. He has won championships at this level and knows what type of player it takes to win and what fans in the Valley will want to come and watch,” said Greenough in one of four press releases the Berwick-based hockey club released April 14.

Coolen & Randell win 2017 Allan Cup with Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts

Congratulations to Acadia Axemen alumnus Travis Randell & former Axemen head coach Tom Coolen on winning the 2017 Allan Cup with the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts!

Travis played for the Axemen from 2012-16, while Coolen coached Acadia from 1987-95, including winning a National CIS Title in 1993.

The Allan Cup is the trophy awarded annually since 1909, to the national senior amateur men’s ice hockey champions of Canada.

Axemen Alumnus stars in first ECHL season

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The ECHL announced on Wednesday that Fort Wayne forward Mike Cazzola has been named to the 2017 ECHL All-Rookie Team as determined by vote of the league coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media who were asked to select a goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards.

Cazzola leads Fort Wayne and is tied for first among rookies with 45 assists and 72 points and is tied for third with 27 goals among first year skaters.

In addition to Cazzola, rookies Landon Bow (G, Idaho), Kevin Shulze (D, Wheeling), Nolan Zajac (D, Toledo), Tyler Spink (F, Toledo) and Tyson Spink (F, Toledo) were also named ECHL All-Rookies for the year.

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