Flaman Named Captain; Webb, Wilson and Henderson Assistant Captains

2022-23 Acadia Axemen Team Captains pictured from Left to Right: Hudson Wilson, Eric Henderson, Jack Flaman, Reilly Webb

The Acadia Axemen are proud to announce their Captains for the 2022-23 season. Jack Flaman has been named the Team’s Captain, with Reilly Webb, Hudson Wilson, and Eric Henderson being named assistant captains.

Flaman, a 5th year forward from Vibank, Saskatchewan, was named Captain last season following the holiday break, captaining the team as they hosted the University Cup last spring in Wolfville. Flaman played his junior hockey in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, Vancouver Giants, Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Red Deer Rebels, as well as in the SJHL with the Notre Dame Hounds.

Reilly Webb, a 6’4” defenceman from Stoney Creek, Ontario, enters his 3rd season as an Axemen after 5 season in the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Saginaw Spirit.

Hudson Wilson, a 6’3” defenceman from Toronto, Ontario, also entering his 3rd season for Acadia, played his 5 years of junior in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s, serving as the team’s assistant Captain in 2018-19, finishing his time in the OHL with the Peterborough Petes.

Eric Henderson, a 4th year forward from Kingsville, Ontario, he too played in the OHL previous to coming to Acadia, playing with the London Knights, Oshawa General, and Hamilton Bulldogs. The 6’2″ winger served as the Generals assistant captain for 40 games to begin the 2018-19 season before moving on to Hamilton.

Coach Darren Burns said, “We are extremely excited to announce our Captains for this upcoming season. This is a very significant process, especially at this juncture for our program. Coming out of two unusual years and bringing in so many new players the importance of re-invigorating key elements that go with playing hockey here at Acadia is crucial.  We are fortunate here, as coaches, that many former players live here in the valley and we are continually reminded of what their experience has meant to them, and we need to make sure we work to provide this for our players of the future. It’s 2022 and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for young athletes to lead, but I think the players we have chosen are fortunate because we have assembled a strong group of character kids, who understand how fortunate they are to live here, attend Acadia, and be an Acadia Hockey player.

Leadership is guys who love the game 24-7. Real hockey players love the smell of a rink, the noise from the Zamboni and live the game all day long. It’s crucial to have those behind-the-scenes guys who can not only do the right things on and off the ice but get us to another level. We want people who exude passion for the game and care for others when no one else is looking. This will come to the forefront in their hard work and passion to play the game. We feel strongly about the choices and look forward to working with them, along with the entire team here this season.”

The Axemen open their season on the road on Wednesday, October 5th against the Dal Tigers before returning home for a Saturday night matchup against the Moncton Aigles Bleus in Wolfville.

Acadia retools lineup for upcoming season

We are just over a week away from the drop of the puck to open the 2022-23 AUS men’s hockey regular season. The Acadia Axemen will open the season on the road in Halifax, facing the Dalhousie Tigers on Wednesday, October 5th. The Axemen lineup will look much different from the squad Acadia iced when hosting the University Cup tournament last March in Wolfville.

Gone from last year’s team are netminder Max Paddock, forwards Mason McCarty, Johnny Corneil, Jordy Stallard, and Loch Morrison; while the Axemen added 10 new recruits to the lineup as they look to improve on a difficult regular season last year.

Let’s look at this year’s edition of the Acadia Axemen hockey team:

Forwards

The Axemen welcome back the leadership and tenacity of team Captain Jack Flaman (9 points in 18 games), who will return for a fifth season. Adam McMaster (16 points in 22 games) and Peyton Hoyt (13 points in 22 games) will be counted on heavily for production, along with returnees Eric Henderson (14 points in 22 games), Keegan Stevenson (8 points in 12 games), Nick Deakin-Poot (7 points in 22 games), & Cole Rafuse (2 points in 22 games). Colin Marshall who played in 3 games for Acadia last season will add depth to the forward roster.

The Axemen have added six forwards, headlined by Falmouth, Nova Scotia native Bailey Peach. Peach is coming off a standout season with the Victoria Royals of the WHL scoring 78 points in 66 games. He will be counted on for production and should prosper from the large ice surface at the Andrew H. McCain Arena.

Cole Nagy, a 6’6” forward who took part in the Colorado Avalanche rookie camp should make an impact with the Axemen, along with fellow recruits Brendan Sellan, Corson Hopwo, Matt McKim, and Enfield, NS’s Liam Kidney.

Coach Burns is enthused with his forward group saying, “Up front our team has had a huge overhaul. We have some good core leaders returning that we need to set the tone for many new players. Early on, our forwards have shown excellent work ethic and overall speed. We will need them to use these qualities to their fullest to help our team win.”

Defenceman

On the backend, Acadia returns all 6 defenceman from the second half of last season with Luke Zazula (7 points in 22 games), Hudson Wilson (1 point in 15 games), Reilly Webb (7 points in 22 games), Merrick Rippon (4 points in 22 games), Morgan Nauss (1 point in 19 games), and Orie Mainolfi (1 point in 22 games) returning.  Newcomer Brendan Tomilson, who starred in the OJHL last season, will look to round out the defence, while Cole Vardy adds depth to the blueline.

Coach Burns said, “Our defence core is one of maturity. We feel this has to be a position that is a stabilizing force for us. We are returning 6 d and as a core they were good last year. We will need them to go from good to great this year if we are going to be a contender. We feel they have what it takes, and our d will be relied on heavily.”

Goalies

With the departure of Max Paddock, the Axemen recruited two first year netminders to backstop the team this season in former Oshawa Generals Zack Paputsakis & Peterborough Petes alumnus Tye Austin. Returning for a 5th season is Conor McCallum.

Coach Burns is optimistic with the netminding trio for the team saying, “Having two new goalies is not the norm in our league. So, it will prove very exciting to see how things unravel, but both newcomers we believe are late bloomers which is not uncommon at this position. Paps and Tye have looked good early on and are eager to prove themselves. Connor is coming back for his fifth year and although he has not appeared in much game action, he has looked great when he has. He’s an extremely confident goalie who our players have grown to respect immensely. There’s lots up for grabs in our net coming into the season.”

Overall Outlook

The Axemen will be led by a strong defence core, with an improved scoring prowess upfront over last season. Acadia will be a fast, puck moving team that will be difficult to play against each and every night. If the goaltending duo of Austin and Paputsakis can settle into the high octane style of play in the AUS conference, the Axemen have plenty of reason for optimism this season.

Acadia will see their first pre-season action this Thursday night in Halifax when they face the SMU Huskies at the Dauphinee Centre.

Peterborough Petes OHL alumnus commits to Acadia

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome goaltender Tye Austin to the hockey program. Austin is a 6’4” netminder from Pembroke, Ontario; he has played the last 4 seasons with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. In 63 career regular season games with the Petes, he went 20-27-3 with a .876 save percentage.

We asked Tye, why he chose Acadia to continue his studies and his hockey journey, he said, “I chose Acadia after speaking with a few past and present Axemen, and everyone had nothing but good things to say about the high-end hockey program and the great people! I love the strong community aspect of Acadia and I’m excited to grow as a player and person there!

Austin will join Zachary Paputsakis, another 1st year netminder, along with 3rd string Conor McCollum, a 5th year goalie, in the crease for the Axemen this season.

Tye had a strong rookie campaign in ’18-19, going 5-7 with a .879 SV% and continued to build on that season and had begun to hit his stride in the OHL right before the 2019-20 season was suspended and eventually cancelled. While the OHL season was cancelled from 20-21 and most players weren’t able to hit the ice all year, he was given the opportunity to train with the Belleville Senators of the AHL while they played out of Ottawa.This past season, his 4th in the OHL, he was named the OHL goalie of the week last year from Nov. 22 – Nov. 28, and went on to post a 9-13-2 record with a .877 save percentage in 27 games.

Axemen coach Darren Burns likes the addition of Austin to his team’s crease saying, “We are really happy to be able to add Tye to the Axemen. We have heard some tremendous things about his work ethic and commitment to his team. We feel he is a player who is going to continue to get better each year because of his passion for the game. With his athleticism and commitment we feel confident that he will be a great addition to our team.”

Austin’s accomplishments off the ice have been just as impressive. Austin was the recipient of the Petes scholastic award in both 2019 and 2020 effectively being able to balance a busy hockey and school schedule. He was also awarded OHL’s East Division Academic Player of the Month for December 2019 and OHL’s Academic Player of the Month in January 2020.

We asked Tye to describe his game in goal, and he said, “Axemen fans can expect me to be a large presence in net, I’m a very athletic goalie that uses my size and ability to read plays to my advantage.”

Axemen training camp is now underway in Wolfville, with the team beginning pre-season action on Friday, September 23rd vs UNB.

Get your Acadia Axemen season tickets now at the Acadia Box office or online by clicking here.

Former NCAA Alaska forward transfers to Acadia

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome forward Matt McKim to the hockey program this upcoming fall. The St. John’s, Newfoundland native played last season with the NCAA’s Division 1 University of Alaska-Fairbanks, suiting up in 6 games, while adding 1 assist on the season.

Matt is the son of Andrew McKim, a former NHLer and AHL St. John’s Maple Leafs’ all-star.

McKim played for the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL Junior ‘A’ league in 2018-19 where he scored 31 points in 58 games. He then moved on to the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL in 2019-20, where he notched 85 points in 57 games. After 4 games with the Pontiacs in 2020-21, he joined the Valley Wildcats of the MJAHL, where he had 21 points in 17 regular season games.

We asked Matt why he chose Acadia, he said, “Acadia has a very strong and proud history, between the awesome location, traditions, and academics, I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I think it’s going to be a great place where I can excel both on and off the ice.”

Axemen head coach Darren Burns likes the addition of McKim to the the Acadia lineup saying, “Matthew is going to bring a strong offensive punch to our line up. He is an extremely intelligent player who sees the ice well and has quick hands. He is a student of the game who has an excellent work ethic. Coming in as a transfer it will help make the adjustment much easier already playing a year of college hockey.”

We asked McKim what Axemen fans can expect from him on the ice this fall, he said, “I would describe my game as a playmaking forward and can expect the same game night in and out. I would like to come into this fall and help out offensively along with having a solid defensive game.”

Axemen add OJHL’s Top Defenceman

PICKERING, ON – October 29, 2021 – Photo by Shawn Muir / OJHL Images

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Brendan Tomilson to the hockey program this fall. The 6 foot tall defenceman, from Cameron, Ontario joins the Axemen after captaining his Pickering Panthers within 1 game of winning the Junior ‘A’ National Championship, losing 4-1 to the Brooks Bandits in the Centennial Cup final.

Tomilson was named the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) Defenceman of the Year for 2021-22 scoring 55 points, 14 goals and 41 assists, in 54 regular season games.

Brendan joined the Panthers last fall after playing two seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he added 17 points in 80 regular season games.

Tomilson says Acadia has been on his radar saying, “While playing in Halifax for a couple years I heard a lot about the atmosphere around Acadia and how close of a community it is with having the small-town feel. Acadia offers both a first-class education as well as a first-class hockey program that sees a lot of players turn pro, and after talking to the coaching staff it felt like a perfect fit for me from all aspects.”

Axemen head coach Darren Burns likes the latest addition to his roster saying, “We feel Brendan is going to be a player who is taylor made for the AUS. He is an extremely hard working defenceman who is a fierce competitor and prides himself in being in top notch shape. He is coming off an excellent year where he logged a lot of ice time playing  for Pickering, who made it all the way to the Centennial Cup Final. He makes a real efficient first pass coming out of the defensive zone and we know he has a team first attitude and is a player who never under achieves. This mentality will be a huge addition to our back end this season.”

Prior to suiting up with the Mooseheads, Brendan played for the Lindsay Muskies of the OJHL from 2017-19 notching 19 points in 101 games.

“Axemen fans can except to see a hard-nosed and responsible two-way defenceman. I take a lot of pride in the D zone and making a good first pass to exit the zone, but also like to jump up into the rush and contribute on the offensive side. With saying that, I also like to play a very physical in your face style of hockey, and am willing to do whatever is needed from me to help our team win,” said Tomilson.

The Acadia Axemen have promoted Taylor Roberts to Video Coach after supporting the team over the past season in a hockey operations role.

Axemen head coach Darren Burns said this about Roberts promotion, “We are very excited to add to Taylor’s responsibilities with our program. He did a terrific job as a student, in the role of hockey operations. We need to continue to build a staff to meet the needs of players, who are choosing our program to develop as hockey players. He has done an excellent job for us and just spent the last five weeks working with the Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs. He was a very valuable addition to their team, and he was surrounded by some extremely high-level hockey executives, consultants, and coaches. Being immersed in the preparations for this tournament will only benefit him and what he can bring to the Axemen hockey program moving forward. To compete at the highest level, we need to continually work to build strengths in our program. We know Taylor can use his experiences and passion for the game to help us get better.”

Roberts will be providing an in-depth and broken down video analysis of the games to maximize the team’s play and the players’ success, while also overseeing all hockey operations from scheduling, finances and logistics for the team.

Congratulations to Taylor on the new role.

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.

Take advantage of our Early Bird Pricing and get your 2022-23 Acadia Axemen hockey season tickets today. Get your tickets for all 15 regular season home games at the Andrew H. McCain Arena here: https://acadiau.universitytickets.com/

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Axemen add 6’6″ WHL alumnus forward

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, Cole Nagy to the program this fall.

Over 4 seasons in the WHL, the 6’6” forward played in 130 regular season games, notching 64 points. Cole first suited up with the Prince Albert Raiders for 2 games 2018-19 and returned to the team the next season to play in 25 games before being traded to the Swift Current Broncos where he would play the next 2 ½ seasons. This past season was his best statistical season, with 34 points in 48 games. In 2020-21 the WHL played a shortened season in a bubble, where Nagy had 16 points in 23 games.

 

As to why he chose Acadia, Cole said, “I’ve only heard good things about Acadia, and after talking to the coaching staff I felt like it is the best fit for me moving forward with academics and hockey. I really like the small town feel, where everyone knows everyone, and I’m excited to get started.”

 

Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns sees Nagy as a key addition noting, “Cole is going to be an invaluable addition to our team. We believe he is going to give us much needed size up the middle and is a very good face off man. He will provide good net front presence on the powerplay and is a very good penalty killer. We believe he is a player who will continue to grow his game in this league. His leadership qualities will also be a huge asset on and off the ice.”

 

Nagy described what Axemen fans can expect to see from him on ice this face saying, “I am a hard-working 200 foot player that takes pride in the small details of the game.”