Axemen Alumni faceoff overseas

Two former Acadia Axemen teammates will square off in the EIHL playoffs beginning tonight April 1st, 2017. Russ Moyer and Brandon Benedict, both 34 years of age, were teammates for four years from 2003-04 to 2006-07 with Acadia and have both spent the past number of season’s playing overseas.

Moyer plays for the Fife Flyers, and was named the team’s top defenceman this year with 37 points in 52 games. A great honour considering their blue line also features former NHL veteran defenceman Richard Jackman.

An Annapolis Valley native, Benedict is in his second tour of duty with the Belfast Giants putting up 14 points in 51 games this season. He played with the team for 2 seasons from 2009-2011, before moving to rival Nottingham Panthers for 4 years and returning to Belfast last season. Benedict remains a force at both ends of the ice as well as on special teams.

The EIHL, Elite Ice Hockey League, is the top ice hockey league in the United Kingdom. Good luck to both Russ & Brandon as their teams battle for playoff supremacy!

Stay up to date on the EIHL playoffs here:

Matt Price Strength & Conditioning coach for the LA Kings

Check out our former Acadia Axemen captain Matt Price as he makes an appearance on the Emmy award winning Ellen Show. Matt now serves as the Head Strength and Conditioning coach for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Price played for the Axemen over four seasons from 1999-2003.

Mike Cazzola leads Fort Wayne to ECHL opening night win

Photo By Josh Schaefer/CIS University Cup
Photo By Josh Schaefer/CIS University Cup

On Acadia University homecoming weekend 2016, Acadia alumnus Mike Cazzola couldn’t make the trek to his alma matter, as he was playing in his 1st regular season pro hockey game with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. Cazzola made the Alumni community proud as he put up three assists to lead his team to a 6-2 victory on opening night for his new league.

The three point night was no surprise to Axemen fans who were accustomed to Cazzola putting points on the board over his 4 years leading the AUS Axemen with 133 regular season points. The shifty forward picked up where he left off at Acadia in the ECHL pre-season as he added 5 assists in just 3 games prior to Friday nights regular season opener.

Looking forward to watching Mike’s continued success this year with Fort Wayne; to keep tabs on the Komets check out

Former Axemen to join Acadia Hockey Honour Roll Friday


By Michael Oleksyn, The Journal

Melfort resident, Melfort Mustangs’ alum and former Acadia Axemen goalie Trevor Amundrud is getting an honor from his alma mater this Friday, October 14. Amundrud and four other former Axemen are being inducted into the Acadia Hockey Honour Roll.

“Anytime that you can be honoured like that it’s something special. To be in there with some of the alumni that have gone through that university. It’s kind of a nice way to recognize a successful university career,”  Amundrud said.
“It is in essence our hockey program’s hall of fame. We did the statistical analysis last summer and our hockey program is in the top four historically successful programs in the history of the CIS so it is quite an honour,”  Acadia Athletic Director and former Melfort Mustangs’ head coach Kevin Dickie said.
The Hockey Honour Roll is a longstanding tradition at Acadia and is chosen each year by a selection committee. According to Dickie the fact that Amundrud was selected was not a surprise based on his achievements at Acadia.
“I coached him in junior and then I coached him here at Acadia as well so. I think there is two parts, I mean Trevor has asked me to read his citation when he gets inducted so obviously that is very special to me,” Dickie said.
The fact that Dickie was reading the citation is also special to Amundrud. “It is really special. He was my coach here for a couple of years and then out at Acadia as well. We’ve got a great relationship on the ice, off the ice. He was a big part of the success of my career. For him to do that for me is pretty special,” Amundrud said.

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Living the Dream
John Decoste
Published on December 14, 2015
Dave Beach on the Axemen bench at the Andrew H. McCain Arena – his ‘second home’ for 23 seasons.
Dave Beach on the Axemen bench at the Andrew H. McCain Arena – his ‘second home’ for 23 seasons.

WOLFVILLE – Dave Beach has never played a game of hockey for Acadia, but his contributions to the success of the Axemen hockey program over the past 20-plus years have not gone without notice.

On Nov. 15, the long-time Axemen equipment manager joined former Acadia players Paul Doherty, Brian Casey and Malcolm Cameron as 2015 inductees to the Acadia Hockey Honour Roll.

Beach, 54, grew up in Kentville. Because one of his legs was shorter than the other, leaving him with a limp, he “was never able to play hockey. I did play some Little League baseball, but I wasn’t very good.”

Talented in other ways

What Beach is good at were the tasks involved with being an equipment manager. He started out with the Kentville Wildcats senior baseball team in 1985, the year they won a national championship, and remained with the team through 2006.

In the fall of 1992, he was chosen to fill a vacancy as an equipment manager for the hockey Axemen.

“I spoke to Coach (Tom) Coolen, and he said there might be a job there for me. Just before the season, I was offered the job, and I was there for the next 23 seasons,” Beach said.

“Mike Smith, a senior student, Chris (Rocky) Randall and I were the equipment managers. When Mike graduated, it was Chris and me for many years. I started out number-three, then number-two, and after Chris left, number-one.”

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A look back at Baker, Clark, Heelis, & Gibbons

Acadia University has been a hot bed for hockey talent for many years… through the late 1980’s and 1990’s, Acadia was a perennial favourite to challenge for the AUS and CIS National titles. Throughout those years, there were many hockey greats to suit up with the Axemen, be it future NHLer Chris Kotsopoulos, or Darren Colbourne, Norm Batherson, George Dupont, Kevin Knopp, Mark McFarlane, Jeff MacLeod and Sean O’Reilly just to name a few. Most notably, in 1994, Axemen Duanne Dennis was the first Acadia University player to be named the nation’s top men’s hockey player, winning the Senator Joseph A Sullivan Trophy.

Since 2000 though, Acadia has turned out some of the top men’s university hockey talent in the country, let’s look back at a few of those who earned exceptional honours:

Kevin BakerKevin Baker, a native of Kingston, Ontario, was a 1999 NHL draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, chosen in the 7th round. He chose to come to Acadia University after two season of playing in the AHL (American Hockey League) and ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) leagues.

Baker said, “I had to sit out my first year at Acadia (due to being a pro for two years previous) and got to help out, almost like an assistant coach. It was a great experience with my head coach, Darren Burns so I got to see that side of college life, and then I played for three years. I was MVP one year and then we went to the Nationals one year, so it was a really good experience.”

From 2003-2006 in 77 regular season games with Acadia, Baker racked up 103 points including 24 goals and 40 points in 28 games in 2004-05, and 24 goals and 47 points in 05-06. His performance in 05-06 led him to be named the CIS Player of the Year, earning the Senator Joseph A Sullivan trophy.

Acadia head coach Darren Burns said of Baker “He was a pure goal scorer, who always seemed to come up with the clutch goal, when we really needed it. He was very deserving of the prestigious award.”

After graduating, Baker went on to play in the pro ranks in the ECHL, AHL, Germany, Italy, and CHL (Central Hockey League), being named the ECHL MVP in 2008-09, scoring 102 point and being named to the first all-star team. He had also been named to the ECHL first all-star team in 06-07 as well. He continued to be a prolific scorer as late as last season, in 2014-15 with the ECHL’s Quad City Mallards, Kevin notched 50 points in 59 games. He finished off the season by representing the United States in the 2015 Ice Hockey Classic in Australia this summer, playing against many NHL, AHL, and ECHL players.

andrew_clark_actionAndrew Clark, a native of Brandon, Manitoba, graduated with a Kinesiology degree in 2013. From 2009-13 in 111 regular season games, Clark amassed 131 points, including 39 points in 28 games in 2011-12. That year he was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian, and named the CIS Men’s hockey player of the year, becoming the third Axemen to take home the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy. He was named a 2012 finalist for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport and national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) Award for top male athlete in the country.Read more »

Former Axemen Moves Behind Acadia Bench

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Acadia Hockey head coach Darren Burns and Acadia University announced the hiring of former hockey Axeman Kris MacDonald as the team’s new assistant coach. MacDonald replaces departed assistant coach Michael Chiasson, who accepted a position with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Orwell, P.E.I. native played for the Axemen from 2007 to 2010 before starting his coaching career in 2011-2012 with the UPEI Panthers for one season as an assistant coach.

In 2012-13, MacDonald became the head coach Notre Dame College in Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hounds and remained so for two seasons. MacDonald became an assistant coach with the Acadie-Bathurst Titans of the QMJHL last season.

“We are very excited to be able to add Kris to our coaching staff at Acadia. It is very important for us to bring somebody here who understands the fabric of the Axemen Hockey program in academics, community and commitment on the ice”, pointed out Burns.

Burns added, “Kris is a very passionate and dedicated person who has worked very hard in building his coaching resume by spending time coaching at the prestigious Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask. and with the Acadie-Bathurst Titans.”

Prior to his time at Acadia, MacDonald played his final year of junior hockey with the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Hockey League after two seasons with Acadie-Bathurst and PEI Rocket of the QMJHL.

MacDonald is excited about the opportunity to return to Acadia University. “Acadia’s athletic program has really taken off over the past few years under the leadership of Director Kevin Dickie and his staff.”, pointed out MacDonald.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to move back to the Valley and join the Acadia Axemen coaching staff. I’m looking forward to working with Darren, Mark (Richards) and Mike (Alcoe)”, said MacDonald. “Darren and his staff have really taken the program to another level having coming off two straight CIS National appearances. It’s an exciting time for program”.

The Axemen open training camp on September 11th followed by an exhibition games against Moncton on September 23rd and at home hosting the Brock Badgers on September 25th and 26th. Acadia concludes their exhibition season in the U.S.A. at Boston University on October 3rd and Vermont University on October 4th.

Coolen to be inducted into Acadia University Sports Hall of Fame

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Acadia University and the Department of Athletics are pleased to announce the first of several inductees into the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame. The event is held every second year and is scheduled for Saturday, October 17th, 2015.

Former hockey Axemen head coach Tom Coolen will be inducted into the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame at the Annual Axemen Hockey Celebrity Dinner scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Coolen, a native of Halifax, N.S., played for the Dalhousie Tigers and Saint Mary’s Huskies during his undergraduate degree. Coolen began his university coaching career as an assistant coach with the UNB Varsity Reds, capturing an AAAU title in 1983-84. Prior to his appointment at Acadia in 1986, Tom completed his MA in physical education at Central Michigan University. For two seasons after graduation, Coolen served as an assistant coach at Ferris State College in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Coolen’s stint at Acadia spanned 8 seasons. His 201 regular season games as the Axemen’s bench boss accumulated an astonishing 144 wins, 42 losses, and 15 ties. Coolen captured a 1992-93 CIAU national championship and three AAAU championships during his tenure at Acadia from 1987 to 1995. Coolen also received the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as CIAU Coach of the Year in 1993 and regained the award after the 1994-1995 season.

Over the past twenty years, Coolen has coached all around the world including the Calgary Flames farm team – the AHL Saint John, N.B. team; the University of New Brunswick – winning another AUS championship; in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats and several years in the Elite leagues of Europe.

The last four years have seen Tom at the top of his profession cumulating with coaching stints at the IIHF World Championships in Finland and Belarus, and the most recent Olympic Games in Sochi with Team Latvia, followed by this past season with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

Acadia University will be releasing the remaining Acadia Sports Hall of Fame inductees in the coming weeks.

Bailey, Burns, Knopp, and Sproxton Inducted

On Saturday, November 8th, the Acadia Hockey Honour Roll proudly welcomed four new members to the exclusive club of Axemen hockey greats. This year’s inductees we Paul Bailey, Darren Burns, Kevin Knopp, and Denis Sproxton.

This year we are proud to be able to provide you the complete ceremony in its entirety for those who couldn’t make it. Please click below.

Here are a few pictures from the event as well.Read more »