Hockey Operations & Staff

Darren Burns – Head Coach

Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren BurnsDarren Burns enters his 23rd season at the helm of the Acadia Axemen hockey team. Darren reached his 300th career win (regular season and playoffs) in 2019 and qualified for the U SPORTS championship University Cup for the fourth time in five seasons.

Burns guided the Axemen to a bronze medal win at the 2017 U SPORTS National championship tournament in Fredericton. The Axemen eliminated No. 1 ranked Alberta in the opening game and then lost UNB in a semi-final match up. The Axemen then topped the StFX X-Men for the bronze medal win.

Burns was selected in 2015, as an assistant coach for the U SPORTS All-Star squad that played two exhibition games in early December 2015 against the World Juniors Team Canada.

Burns, who captained the Acadia in his senior year as an Axemen, is the second longest serving coach in the AUS. In his 23 seasons as head coach, his teams have not made the playoffs only four times – three of those in his first three years rebuilding the Axemen.

Burns has played an important role in the development of local Annapolis Valley hockey players, consulting in the creation of the Acadia Minor Hockey Association. Acadia Axemen summer hockey camps have also grown to offer an assortment of special camps that have assisted in the development of local and provincial players.

A native of Brockville, ON, Burns played for the Axemen from 1990-95 and was a member of the 1992-93 National Championship winning squad. Darren also won a second U SPORTS Championship as an assistant with the Axemen in 1995-96. Burns resides in Port Williams, NS, with his wife Lana, son Brady and daughter Allie.

Mike Alcoe – Assistant Coach

A retired school teacher, Mike Alcoe has been with the Hockey Axemen as a coach for 34 seasons. Mike’s experience with AUS hockey is a tremendous asset to the team and he plays a significant role in managing various aspects of the defense.

His passion and competitiveness has assisted in building the tradition of Acadia Hockey. A very knowledgeable defense coach, Mike has won Two National Championships in his time at Acadia. His experience and track record as a winning coach provides great stability for the Hockey Axemen.

Mike was once a member of the Axemen hockey program from 1976-1980 and served as an assistant with former coaches Don Wells, Tom Coolen, Mark Hanneman, and current Athletic Director Kevin Dickie.

He resides in Port Williams with wife Rebecca, son Mitchell and daughter Brooke.

Mark Richards – Assistant Coach

Mark is in his 22nd year as an assistant with the Axemen and spent two seasons prior to Acadia with the Saint Mary’s Hockey Program.

He has become a very important part of the Axemen coaching staff in managing the bench. His desire to learn and passion for the game combined with an uncanny ability to read the game has been very important in the resurgence of the Acadia Hockey Program.

Mark is a teacher with the Annapolis Valley School Board and resides in New Minas with his sons James and Matthew.

Kris MacDonald – Associate Coach

A native of Orwell PEI, Kris is no stranger to the Annapolis Valley and Acadia University. Kris heads into his ninth season with the Axemen. Kris coordinates the Acadia Axemen Hockey camps during the summer months.

Prior to coaching, he played two seasons in the QMJHL with the PEI Rocket and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, and finished up his junior career in the Maritime Junior League with the Summerside Western Capitals. He then went on to play three seasons for the Acadia Axemen.

Known as a tireless worker on and off the ice, his time spent playing served very beneficial for his future in the game. He parlayed his high hockey IQ into an immediate career in coaching. He spent two seasons as the Midget AAA coach for the prestigious Notre Dame Hounds and the next year as an Assistant for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL.

MacDonald has had an immediate impact with the team and has also helped elevate the development of youth hockey in the Acadia Minor Hockey Organization. MacDonald resides in Port Williams, N.S.

Daniel Pettersson – Assistant Coach







Ryan Fisher – Goaltender Coach

With over twelve years of playing experience, and having been trained by some of the best NHL goalie coaches in North America, Ryan Fisher has a unique perspective on what works when training goaltenders. His love for the game and his passion for teaching brought him to where he is today.

During the year Ryan divides his time consulting with Minor Hockey Associations, attending team practices, running private lessons with goalies of all ages and skill levels, and more. Ryan founded ‘Fisher Goaltending’ in 2017 and has built a successful goalie development program that hosts camps and lessons year-round.


Video Taylor RobertsTaylor Roberts – Video Coach

Taylor Roberts is entering his second season as video coach with the Acadia Axemen, after being promoted from hockey operations the past 3 years with the hockey program. Roberts will be providing an in-depth and broken down game analysis to maximize our team and players success, while also overseeing all operations from scheduling, finances & logistics.

Peter Sheehan – Assistant Equipment Manager

Peter Sheehan is entering his 10th season as Team Services with the Acadia Axemen. He has been around the team since the age of 10 serving as Stickboy and helping around the team. Being raised in Wolfville, Sheehan has been with the team for two C.I.A.U. Championships with the team in ’96. He also has worked with Acadia Athletics for all sports helping and volunteering.



len-hawley-jpg Len Hawley – Manager, Development and Marketing

Len spent over 25 years in the radio industry before joining the Athletics Department team. While working with AVR Radio, Len was the “voice of Acadia hockey” since the station began broadcasting Axemen hockey games in the late 80’s.

Len’s love for hockey and the Axemen extended beyond the broadcasting of Acadia games and has included his chairmanship of the Annual Axemen Hockey Celebrity Dinner and other vital fundraising efforts for the hockey team over the last three decades.


Chris Richards – Social Media & Website Communications

Chris has been the architect & driving force behind and the @AxemenHockey social media accounts for the past 16 years. From in-game tweets, to game recaps, to writing Valley community hockey stories, Chris has provided the coverage for Acadia Hockey. An Acadia University alumnus of 2001, he has a passion for tying the Axemen’s storied hockey history together with the Acadia team of today.