Hockey Operations & Staff

Head Coach – Darren Burns

Darren Burns from Brockville, ON, enters his 17th season at the helm of the Acadia Axemen hockey team. He recently guided the Axemen to a third-place finish in the AUS standings. In 2015 Burns was selected as an assistant coach for the CIS All-Star squad that played two exhibition games in against the World Juniors Team Canada. Burns has captured 2 AUS championships in his time as head coach of the Axemen and was an assistant coach with the Team Canada entry at the World University Games in Torino, Italy, which captured gold in 2006/2007. Darren was named the 2005 Atlantic University Sport Coach of the Year and 2005 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Coach of the Year. Burns plays 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.

Before coaching, 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 CIS 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.

Assistant Coach – Mike Alcoe

Mike Alcoe enters his 28th season with the Acadia Axemen. 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.  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.

Alcoe currently resides in Port Williams with wife Rebecca, son Mitchell and daughter Brooke as a well-known retired teacher of Horton High School.


Assistant Coach – Mark Richards

Mark is in his 15th 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 resides in Port Williams with wife Sonia and son’s James and Matthew and works with the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.


Assistant Coach – Kris MacDonald

A native of Orwell PEI, Kris heads into his 3rd season with the Axemen, he has had an immediate impact with the team and has also helped elevate the development of youth hockey in the Acadia Minor Hockey Organization. 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.

Kris has played two seasons in the QMJHL with the PEI Rockets 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.


Rees Giacchetta – Video and Analytics

Giacchetta is entering his second season with the Axemen doing analytics and video for the Axemen. Born and raised out west in small town Priddis Alberta near Calgary, Giacchetta previously spent the last 2 seasons working as team services with The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. The second year is currently studying for his Bachelor of Business Administration degree.


aca_0175Peter Sheehan – Equipment Manager

Peter Sheehan is entering his 3rd season as Equipment Manager 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.


aca_0176Will Pappas

Will Pappas comes from Etobicoke Ontario, near Toronto and has been with the Axemen for 4 seasons, including the 2013-14 AUS Championship season. While with the Axemen, Pappas has been working hard to get his degree for Community Development.



Jessica Lohnes – Senior Student Therapist

Jessica Lohnes enters her second season with the Axemen and first as Senior Therapist. Lohnes was born and raised in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and is in her 4th year of Kinesiology at Acadia University.

Tyler Gunn- Junior Student Therapist

Also getting a degree in Kinesiology, Gunn enters her first season working alongside Lohnes. Tyler originates from Saint John New Brunswick and is currently working for his degree in Kinesiology.

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

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.


chrisrichardsssbc-copySocial Media & Website Communications- Chris Richards

Chris has been the architect & driving force behind and the AxemenHockey social media accounts for the past 9 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.