Axemen top scorer returns for fourth year
WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Last spring, returning for a fourth season with the hockey Axemen was not in the cards for Stephen Harper. After graduating with his business degree in May, the 24-year-old Harper had expected to be elsewhere this fall, possibly playing hockey at a high level.
“It’s crazy sometimes how things change,” Harper said in a Sept. 30 interview. He was invited to the Buffalo Sabres training camp and rookie camp and “felt I did okay,” but “the right offer didn’t happen.”
He chose the option of returning to Acadia and taking “a lighter course load. I had thought about going elsewhere, but I’ve been here for three years, and I love it here.”
Since arriving at Acadia in the fall of 2016, Harper has always been impressed with “how big hockey is here,” and especially how the community embraces the Acadia student-athletes. “This program,” he said, “has a fan base very similar to major junior.”
Admittedly, Acadia hosting the University Cup in Halifax at season’s end was a factor in his decision. “At the end of the day, it was a no-brainer,” not to mention a win-win scenario. “Why not come back?”
With his return, Harper, Acadia’s leading scorer the last two seasons and the 2017-2018 AUHC scoring champion, believes he “can be a leader and role model” for his younger teammates, many of whom are in their first or second years.
“I see myself as a team leader,” he says. “I try to lead by example. I’m kind of low-key in the dressing room, but I believe my best asset as a leader is my play on the ice. It’s important to do the right things for the younger players, whether or not you’re wearing a letter (which Harper is this season).”Read more »