Category: Team Stories
Offensive Prowess, Grit & Leadership
The Acadia Axemen will be hosting the USports men’s hockey University Cup this March in Halifax, and their lineup received a major bolster with the news of the return of defenceman Liam Maaskant and forward Stephen Harper.
Both players graduated this past April, but will be returning to Acadia University in September, looking to complete some unfinished business, in their quest to take home the University Cup this spring.
Harper, who played his junior career in the OHL has been an offensive force in his 3 years with the Axemen, scoring 101 points in 86 games, plus 16 points in 16 AUS/USports playoff games. The Hamilton Ontario native led the AUS in scoring in 2017-18 with 46 points in 30 games. Stephen was named to the AUS All-Rookie Team in 2016-17, and was named AUS First Team All-Star & 2nd Team U Sports All Canadian in 2017-18.
Harper’s final status with Acadia for the upcoming season will depend on the results of attending the Buffalo Sabres camp in September.
Coach Darren Burns shared the team’s excitement saying, “We are very excited about Stephen’s decision to return to Acadia. He is a premier player in USports hockey and obviously he will play a key part in a national championship year for us. We feel he will be an excellent leader on and off the ice. He is returning to the Buffalo Sabres camp in September and we know this will be pivotal step in earning a pro contract.”
Meanwhile, Maaskant, who also played in the OHL through junior, and served as the Axemen captain last season, will return and likely where the ‘C’ again this upcoming season. In 104 career regular season USports games over his 4 years with the Axemen, Liam notched 26 points while posting 362 penalty minutes, and 3 playoff points in 21 AUS/USports playoff games. Maaskant will anchor the defensive corps once again for the Axemen; the 6’4 215lbs blueliner is know for making the other team keep their head on a swivel through the neutral zone or pay the price on the receiving end of a thunderous body check.
On Maaskant’s return, Coach Burns added, “We are very excited to have Liam returning this year. He is an incredible leader here at Acadia, and his leadership will be crucial this season. He has gotten better every season he has played at Acadia and is an outstanding shut down defender who is one of the toughest players to play against in our league. There is no question, we need what he brings to the rink everyday in our lineup.”
Acadia alumnus back with hockey Axemen
WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Acadia University and Acadia men’s hockey head coach Darren Burns announced today that former Axeman Daniel Pettersson will join the team’s coaching staff this fall.
“We are extremely excited to add Dan to our coaching staff. He is a very hard-working individual and is very passionate about the game of hockey. He has an intelligent hockey mind and it’s an excellent time to add him to our staff as we head into hosting a U SPORTS National Championship. Anytime you have a resource like this in your community and he’s a former Axemen, it’s a perfect fit,” noted Burns.
Pettersson played his junior hockey career from 2007-2011 with the QMJHL Moncton Wildcats and then jumped to the professional ranks from 2011-2014 in Sweden for two seasons and one season in France.
In 2014, Pettersson joined the Axemen and remained for three seasons, playing 44 games in two seasons and capturing a U SPORTS bronze medal in his final senior year in 2017. Pettersson participated in the 2017 FISU Games with Team Sweden in Kazakhstan and was the team’s top scorer in the International university championship tournament with 10 points in five games.
Pettersson’s coaching background began in the 2015-2016 season with the Acadia Minor Hockey Association Atom AA team as an assistant coach and the Peewee AAA team in 2016-17. In the 2017-2018 season, Pettersson became an assistant coach with the Midget AAA Valley Wildcats assistant and hasn’t looked back in the coaching profession. With more than 10 years of experience in skill development and hockey school Instruction, Pettersson spent two years as a skills/development coordinator in Sweden.Read more »
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
Where: Andrew H. McCain Arena, Wolfville
“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 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.