Major Midget & Major Bantam Conditioning & Skills Development Camps scheduled

The Acadia Axemen and Valley Wildcats organization are pleased to announce that together, they will be running a major midget and major bantam conditioning and skills development camp at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville this summer.

Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns expressed excitement for the upcoming camps, “Both programs are extremely excited to work together to help create the best development opportunities for the kids in the valley. Axemen coach Kris MacDonald and I see this as an excellent opportunity and only the tip of the ice berg for the kids in the valley. Both of our staffs working together year-round can only help in player development and opportunities ‎for hockey players throughout the Annapolis Valley.”

While Valley Wildcats new bench boss, Brandon Benedict added, “This is very exciting. Growing up in the Valley I know how much talent and potential there is. Being a former Axemen and now coach and director of hockey operations for the Valley Wildcats, I realize how important the synergy is between our two programs, it can only be a positive for our young hockey players.”Read more »

21st Annual Acadia Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner

When: Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Where: Andrew H. McCain Arena, Wolfville


Darren Burns, head coach of the Acadia University men’s hockey team, announced April 15, 2019 that Brian Burke, Sportsnet hockey analyst and former NHL general manager, will headline this year’s Acadia Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner in June.


Prior to joining Sportsnet in 2018, Burke served as President of Hockey Operations of the Calgary Flames, President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks (winning the Stanley Cup in 2007), Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers. Burke was also General Manager for the United States national men’s hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics and is a member of Rugby Canada’s board of directors.


Noted for his brash personality, outspokenness, extensive vocabulary and unwillingness to wear a tie, Burke is one of the most insightful, informative and entertaining figures in the hockey world.


Born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised in Edina, Minnesota, in a family of 10 children, Burke graduated from Providence College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. While attending Providence, he played for the Friars Division I hockey team where, during his senior year, he served as captain.


In 1976-77, Burke played seven games with the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League (AHL). He played one full year in the AHL with the Maine Mariners, who won the Calder Cup championship. Burke retired after the 1977-78 season and attended Harvard Law School, where he graduated with a Juris Doctorin 1981.
“We’re so excited to have Mr. Burke headline this year’s dinner,” Burns said. “Mr. Burke has had a Hall-of-Fame worthy career as a hockey executive and is well on his way to repeating that success in television. Our guests will be very entertained.”
The 21st Acadia Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner takes place Wednesday, June 26th at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville. Since starting in 1998, the event has raised close to $425,000 in support of the men’s varsity hockey program at Acadia. Tickets and corporate tables are available to purchase online. To register, please click here.


For more information on the Celebrity Dinner event, contact Len Hawley, Chairperson, at (902) 585-1044 or e-mail: More special guests for the dinner to be released in the upcoming weeks.

The Acadia Axemen celebrated their graduating senior players on Friday night. Players recognized were captain Liam Maaskant, assistant captain Kyle Farrell, and top scorer Stephen Harper.

The Axemen also recognized graduating student athletic therapist Tyler Gunn. Finally, the Axemen celebrated assistant Brett Cote who graduates this Spring. From the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, Brett had to end his playing career due to health issues. With a full scholarship, Brett remained & continued to be an integral member of the Axemen team.‬

1st Half Experience & Added Depth Key for Acadia

The Acadia Axemen hit the ice to start the second half of their AUS men’s hockey season on Friday night on the road in PEI, as they face the UPEI Panthers, and then again on Saturday night in Fredericton against the UNB Reds. Not an easy start for the Axemen who will look to improve on a tough first half, that saw a young team, with 12 new players, go through some growing pains. A 5-10-2 record, good for 6th in the conference, with a 5-3 record on home ice, meant an 0-7-2 record on the road. Something the Axemen need to improve on to climb the AUS standings.

The Axemen came in to the season leaving 2 roster spots open, and with injuries and suspensions in the first half, it definitely spread the team thin at times. 1st year forward Cole Reginato saw action in just 5 games due to an early season injury, assistant captain Alex Lepkowski missed 7 games due to suspension and injury. 2nd year Axemen Michael Zipp & Cristiano Digiacinto missed 4 games a piece, while first year forward Johnny Corneil was out for two games.

The decision to hold those roster spots open looks to have paid off for the Axemen however, as they have added former WHL sniper Jordy Stallard, and stalwart defenceman Tate Olsen, who also played in the WHL. Both players spent the first half of the season playing in the ECHL; both players are NHL draft picks as Stallard was drafted in the 5th round in 2016 by the Winnipeg Jets, and Olsen in the 7th round in 2015 by the Vancouver Canucks.

Acadia Head Coach Darren Burns expressed excitement heading into January saying, “We are very excited to get started with the second half. The intensity of AUS hockey ramps up in the second half of the season and that is something we need to be prepared for. There’s no question the first half was a huge learning experience for our team and the second half will be even tougher. We were extremely fortunate to add two strong players which will help. There’s no place to hide in our conference and commitment and execution will be critical if we are going to succeed.”Read more »

Acadia bolsters lineup for 2nd half run

The Acadia Axemen have made a big splash in AUS men’s hockey news by adding two key pieces to their lineup for the second half of the Usports hockey season; adding defenseman Tate Olson, and forward Jordy Stallard.

Veteran head coach of the Acadia program, Darren Burns welcomed the new recruits, “We are extremely excited to be able to add these two impact players to our program. With the large turnover in players from last year, this was a huge recruiting year. We left two roster spots open in the 1st half as it was important that we were adding the right people on and off the ice. We knew we were going to experience some growing pains being an extremely young team. We left these spots open to make sure we could add impact to our line up and we are very confident we have done that. We are probably the youngest team in USports, but we feel we have an extremely committed group, and this is going to pay dividends.”

Jordy Stallard is a 5th round NHL draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 2016. The 6’2” centreman, from Brandon, Manitoba, will give the Axemen another elite scoring threat. After 2 ½ years with the Calgary Hitmen, Jordy played a year and a half with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. In 2017-18, he racked up 91 points in just 72 games, including 44 goals, good for 14th in league scoring in the competitive Western Hockey League. This season, Stallard has played with the Allen Americans and Indy Fuel of the ECHL, adding 4 points in 19 games.

“Jordy is a proven scorer in the WHL and he has good size. He is a high character player who no doubt can help us offensively. His assets will help us five on five and on the powerplay as well. It’s no secret that we weren’t the most offensive team in the 1st half. We think he can help our program immediately,” said the Axemen Head Coach.Read more »

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – By John DeCoste – Prior to the fall of 2017, it was rare for the Acadia hockey Axemen to have a player whose father had played in the NHL. The list, including Fred Armstrong (son of long-time Toronto captain George Armstrong), an Axemen player in the early 1980s, has not been a long one.

It’s still a fairly rare occurrence, but for the record, this year’s Axemen roster includes not one, but two ‘second generation’ hockey players, whose dads were both long-time NHLers.

Second-year winger Jack McClelland is the son of Kevin McClelland, who played all of part of 14 seasons with five NHL teams.

The elder McClelland spent most of his career as a valuable role player with the Edmonton Oilers, and ended up part of four Stanley Cup champions as a teammate of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.

Jack McClelland, who was born in Oshawa, ON in 1996, the year after his father retired as a player, grew up in the U.S, largely in Wichita, Kansas where Kevin served as head coach of the CHL Wichita Thunder from 2010-2016.

“I was born in Oshawa, but I didn’t live there long,” says Jack, who moved around a lot as a youth as his father’s lengthy coaching career progressed.

He played most of his junior hockey with the Wichita Thunder Tier 1 Junior A team in the Western States Hockey League. His father was coaching the pro team in Wichita at the time, “so I was never coached by him.”

First-year Axemen defenseman T.J. Fergus is the son of Tom Fergus, who played all or part of 12 NHL seasons, including multiple years in Boston, Toronto and Vancouver.

While he never got his name on the Stanley Cup, Tom Fergus finished his career in 1995 with 235 goals and 581 points in 726 NHL games. He had 28 and 30-goals season with Boston, and scored a season-high 31 goals his first season with Toronto in 1985-1986.

T.J. Fergus, born in Oakville, ON in 1997 – two years after his dad retired as a player following two seasons playing in Switzerland – played his major junior hockey in the OHL, spending three seasons with the Erie Otters and splitting his age-20 season between Hamilton and Barrie.

During his time with Erie, he was a teammate of current NHL superstar Connor McDavid, who “was my captain” during the 2014-2015 season.Read more »

Axemen Coaches Burns & Richards excited for continued partnership

For the past 15 years, male & female hockey players of all ages and skill levels have had the opportunity to continue their hockey development by taking part in the leading spring hockey program which takes place at Acadia University Arena.  The long-time partnership between the University of Acadia and the Atlantic Hockey Group has benefited thousands of young hockey players.

Established in 2003, the Jr Axemen program was the vision of Darren Burns, Head Coach of the Acadia Axemen hockey program and Charlie Bourgeois, Director of the Atlantic Hockey Group.  The objective was to offer a local program for players and families lead by the many high-level coaches we have in the area. To provide an alternative to having families forced to travel to Halifax or other major centers to take part in spring hockey.  It was also very important to make available programs for players of all skill levels – for the Elite to recreational players.  Says Bourgeois “With the great success of the Jr Axemen program I believe it is fair to say that we have exceeded expectations.  The success of the program is due to the hard work of many great hockey people.”

Mark Richards, a long-time assistant coach with the Acadia Axemen (entering his 16th season) as well as minor hockey is the Director of the program.  Mark has also operated the very successful Acadia Selects program which takes part in the Elite spring hockey division.  Among his many responsibilities, Mark is responsible for bringing in the most qualified coaches to work with our players. Says Mark, “we are very fortunate to have a great hockey culture in the Valley area. Our teams are led by a group of very passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable coaches.  The ultimate goal is to find the balance of high-level training as well as providing our teams the opportunity to compete against teams at the appropriate level allowing us to challenge players of all levels.”Read more »