Category: Team Stories
WOLFVILLE, N.S. – By John DeCoste ’77 – On Oct. 10, Flaman, a Saskatchewan native, fourth-year Acadia business student and three-year hockey Axemen veteran, ran the half marathon as part of the 29th annual Valley Harvest Marathon.
Despite playing a pair of Axemen hockey games on Friday (in Wolfville) and Saturday (in Antigonish), the 24-year-old Flaman completed the 21.1-kilometre distance in around one hour and 51 minutes.
He took on the challenge as a way of honoring his older brother Mike, diagnosed a year ago with multiple sclerosis (MS), and as a means of raising funds and awareness for MS research.
“I’ve been training for it all summer,” Flaman said in an Oct. 6 interview. He admittedly had not run anything close to a 21-kilometre distance before. “Never,” he said. “It’s something new for me.”
Asked the longest distance he had run at one time, Flaman said that as part of his pre-race training, “I’ve gotten up to around 16 kilometres.” He was confident he would complete the half marathon distance on Oct. 10, adding, “it’s going to be fun. I’m not going to quit now.”
By taking on this challenge, he said, “I am looking to show that regular exercise and being outside doing things is good for you and will likely prolong your life.”
Flaman credited his girlfriend Emma Stevens for playing a big part in his pre-race training and preparation. “One day, she suggested we go running together,” he said – and it became a regular occurrence. Stevens agreed to run part of the half marathon with Flaman. “We’ll run it together.”
His mother Tricia has also been a huge support, especially with his fundraising. “She’s coming out here for the weekend,” Flaman said of his mom. “She hasn’t been here in a year-and-a-half. It’s pretty exciting. She’ll not only get to see me run, but also get to see me play two hockey games.”
In a follow-up email Oct. 11, Flaman described the race as “really fun, actually. The support from all the people on the side of the track really keeps you going.”
He was pleased with his race result, particularly for his first time running the distance. He and Stevens “ran the first half together, and she helped me get through the early grind.” Overall, he “managed to stick to my game plan of taking it easy off the start and getting faster as it went on.”
Flaman’s other goal, raising funds for and awareness of MS, also went well, he said. When we spoke Oct. 6, he had managed to raise around $7,500 toward his ultimate goal of $10,000.
He said Oct. 11, “I managed to surpass my goal of $10,000 before the race started, so I had some extra motivation. I can’t thank enough all the people who supported me and made donations,” he said.
“It started off slow,” he said of the fundraising, “because I didn’t tell a lot of people about it at first. Since I’ve put it out there, the support has been great.”
Flaman said and his brother have always been close. “Mike is three and a half years older than me. Over the past five or six years, we’ve gotten closer than we were when we were younger.”
They have become closer still since Mike’s diagnosis, and despite the distance between Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, Jack has been there for Mike as much as he can.
After playing hockey at the recreational level, Mike Flaman has taken over helping with the operation of the family dairy farm. “He’s looking to carry on the family business.”
Jack, on the other hand, played four years with a series of junior and major junior hockey teams in western Canada before being recruited to Acadia in the fall of 2018. He played two seasons with the Axemen before he and his teammates had to take last season off due to Covid-19.
He is looking forward to playing a full season in 2021-2022, and also that Acadia is scheduled to host the 2022 University Cup in Halifax next March. “Our goal is to earn our way there, not just be there.”
As for MS, asked if there might be a chance that he might be diagnosed someday, Flaman replied, “with MS, you never really know. That’s the scary part.” His brother, he pointed out, is only 27. “He’s on an experimental medicine program through Health Canada, which is making a big difference for him.”
McFadden named Acadia Team Captain
The Acadia Axemen proudly announced their player leadership group today, naming 4th year defenceman Garrett McFadden team captain, along with 4th year forwards Jack Flaman and Loch Morrison as assistant captains, as well as 4th year goalie Logan Flodell.
McFadden, from Kincardine, Ontario, is no stranger to leadership roles on the ice, as he served as the Captain of the OHL’s Guelph Storm for 2 years, and as an assistant captain for another season.
The newly named Axemen captain, also is the creator of McFadden’s Movement, which he founded in September 2016, is a nonprofit organization that strives to change, help, and develop mental health among athletes starting at the grass roots level. Along with raising awareness and continuing the conversation, McFadden and MM27 have also donated a total of $78,200 to mental health resources in just five years.
Coach Darren Burns said this about his captain, “Fads (McFadden) has been a leader all his life and embodies what our institution is about. I’ve said it many times, being the captain of our hockey team is not easy, there are many responsibilities that reach far outside the arena. He checks every box of classroom, community, and hockey.”
Flaman, Flodell, & Morrison all hail from Saskatchewan, and exude natural leadership with their dedication & work ethic on and off the ice and commitment to giving back in the community.
Coach Burns added this about these 3 members of the leadership group, “Loch (Morrison) is a tireless worker who has gotten better each year he has been here. He competes hard and will hold others accountable.
Flams (Flaman) always over achieves because he is the type of old school player who looks in the mirror as a player and a person every day. His work ethic is impeccable.
Floods plays a key role in the success of our hockey team and has had a desire to take on more responsibility on and off the ice. This has been very exciting to watch over the last couple of years.”
McFadden, Flaman, Morrison, Flodell & their Acadia Axemen teammates hit the ice for the regular season opener on Friday, October 8th as they host the Dalhousie Tigers, before hitting the road to visit StFX on Saturday, October 9th.
Plenty of Optimism for UCup Hosts
The Acadia Axemen return to home ice on October 8th to open up the 2021-22 regular season after last season was cancelled by USports due to the pandemic. The Axemen have a number of new faces since the team last played playoff action back in February of 2020, prior to hosting the USports National University Cup championship, which were cancelled before Acadia played their first game as the pandemic struck Canada. Acadia has once again been named the host for the UCup tournament this season in Halifax, in March.
Let’s take a look at the 2021-22 Axemen!
Arguably the strongest position for the Axemen will be in goal this season. Acadia will have the reigning AUS regular season MVP of 2019-20, Logan Flodell, in net once again, along with highly touted WHL recruit Max Paddock, completing the tandem. In the ultra-competitive AUS no game is a ‘night off’, so having this 1-2 punch in goal will ensure the Axemen a chance to win every night.
Axemen coach Darren Burns, who heads into his 20th season behind the bench for Acadia, is confident of the tandem in his crease saying, “We feel our goaltending will be as good as there is in USports. Floods (Logan Flodell) has been an MVP in this league and we will need him to replicate that form. Although Max is a rookie in the league, he has proven he can carry the ball in high pressure situations. He starred with Regina in the Memorial Cup which has proven to be a great measuring stick for him.”
The Axemen will ice a very different lineup on defence since their last regular season game in Wolfville, gone are the likes of Liam Maaskant, Alex Lepkowski & Ross MacDougall, but the Acadia coaching staff has assembled a very strong defensive corps, with 9 natural defenseman on the roster. Acadia will be led on the backend by the smooth skating Garrett McFadden, who was an AUS 2nd team all-star in 2019-20, along with returning defenceman Morgan Nauss and TJ Fergus.
New additions to the blue line, will play a big role in the Axemen success with the skating & offensive skill of Luke Zazula, and the hard nosed play from Merrick Rippon & Orie Mainolfi, & last year’s strong two way defence recruits Reilly Webb & Hudson Wilson. With this depth on defense, Loch Morrison will move up to the wing to see action with the forwards.
Burns, the 2019-20 AUS Coach of the Year, likes the make up of his blue line saying, “On defence, we feel we are mobile, physical and can skate. We have a mixture of key elements at this position, and we will need this group, along with our goaltending to focus on playing stingy and keeping pucks out of our end.”
“Up front we feel we have a hard-working group who skates well. They will need to focus on work ethic and puck possession to create offence this season,” said Coach Burns about his forward lineup.
Having lost scoring prowess of graduated forwards Stephen Harper, Cristiano Digiacinto, Rodney Southam, & Owen MacDonald, Acadia will rely heavily on scoring by committee with a balanced attack this season. Mason McCarty will be looked to for production, currently skating on the top line with fellow veteran Mo Colella and 1st year centreman Adam McMaster.
2018-19 Memorial Cup winner Tyler Hinam should be an impact player in his first official AUS season, along with 6’5” centreman Nick Deakin-Poot. Forwards Keegan Stevenson, Peyton Hoyt & Annapolis Valley native Cole Rafuse will look to provide a balance of energy and scoring throughout the four line attack.
Returning forwards Johnny Corneil, Eric Henderson, & Jack Flaman will be relied on to continue their production and leadership in the lineup; while Axemen Jordy Stallard, who has been one of the team’s top scoring forwards since arriving in January of the 2018-19 season, will be sidelined until the second half of this season following off season surgery, but will provide a strong addition to the offense when he returns.
The Axemen finished up their exhibition schedule last week with victories over Saint Mary’s and then Dalhousie giving them a 2-1-1 preseason record. Acadia’s regular season opens up on Friday, October 8th as the Axemen host the Dalhousie Tigers, followed by a trip to Antigonish on Saturday for the Axemen to face the X-Men.
Axemen add defenceman to lineup
The Acadia Axemen are proud to announce the commitment of defenceman Merrick Rippon to our hockey program. Merrick, a native of Ottawa, is described as a hard-hitting defenceman who played his junior career on the blue line for parts of three OHL seasons with the Mississauga Steelheads and his hometown Ottawa 67’s.
Originally drafted by the Kitchener Rangers, his OHL rights were moved from Kitchener to Mississauga, where he played to start the 2017-2018 season. At the Christmas break, the 6-foot-1 defenceman was dealt to the Ottawa 67’s.
Over his OHL tenure, he has suited up for parts of three seasons with the 67’s in the OHL. Rippon has a total of 54 points in 168 regular-season games played in the league and was a big part of a long playoff run in 2019, which saw the 67’s sweep their first three playoff series on route to a 4-2 series loss in the J. Ross Robertson Cup finals. Following the season, Rippon was invited to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes rookie camp, but couldn’t attend due to an injury.
In 2020, Rippon was on track for a career year before the season came to an abrupt halt, recording 13 points in 36 games played.
With the OHL not playing due to the pandemic in 2021, Rippon signed a amateur tryout (ATO) with the AHL’s Belleville Senators. Merrick suited up for 1 game with the AHL club.
Coach Burns is excited to add Rippon saying, “Merrick comes from a tremendous background as he was an integral part of the Ottawa 67s. He is an excellent addition for us as he played in an organization which is extremely high profile and a lot of responsibility comes with playing there as it does here. He has a team first mentality and is a fierce two way defencemen with very good mobility . He is tailor made for AUS hockey. He’s all about compete and accountability on the ice. He will be counted on heavily to play against teams top lines.”
Rippon joins a very impressive recruiting class put together by Coach Burns and his staff, with the additions of netminder Max Paddock, fellow defensemen Luke Zazula and Olie Mainolfi, and forwards Luke Moncada, Keegan Stevenson, and Adam McMaster. The Acadia Axemen are the host team for the 2021-22 UCup national tournament, taking place in March in Halifax.
Acadia adds skilled forward to lineup
The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Beamsville, Ontario native Adam McMaster to the hockey program. Adam is a 5’10” forward, who played his junior career in the OHL with the North Bay Battalion and Owen Sound Attack. He was originally drafted in the 1st round, 13th overall by North Bay in the OHL priority draft.
After 2 ½ years with the Battalion, he moved on to Owen Sound in 2018-19. In that season with the two clubs he combined for 51 points in 69 regular season game. In his only full season with the Attack in 2019-20, he added 42 points in 60 games in the shortened season due to the pandemic. The OHL did not play in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, so McMaster did not play an overage junior year. In the four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League Adam tallied 50 goals, 95 assists for 145 points in 254 regular season games. He also added eight assists in 10 playoff games.
We asked Adam what made him choose Acadia for the next chapter of his career, and he said, “Through talking with Coach Burns for the past 7 or 8 months I could tell Acadia is a place that I could further my education and also my playing career. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Acadia and the AUS conference. I am excited to get to Acadia and play in front of the Axemen fans!
When McMaster described his own play he said, “Axemen fans can expect a fast paced player who is very creative in both ends of the ice. A player who loves to use his edges and speed in order to create plays for my teammates.”
To watch a highlight pack of McMaster’s OHL play, visit:
Head Coach Darren Burns spoke highly of the Axemen new addition saying, “Adam will be a very important addition to our line up. He is a very good skater with excellent offensive skills. His creativity and vision will be a huge asset on our Olympic ice. We needed to increase our offensive output this season and Adam will no doubt help us. He can put the puck in the net and brings a lot of creativity to the powerplay.”
The first year forward joins an already impressive Acadia hockey recruiting class, which includes netminder Max Paddock, defensemen Luke Zazule & Olie Mainolfi, and forwards Luke Moncada & Keegan Stevenson.