Hockey Operations & Staff

Head Coach – Darren Burns

Darren Burns enters his 18th season at the helm of the Acadia Axemen hockey team.

Darren reached his 300th career win (regular season and playoffs) this past season and qualified for the U SPORTS championship University Cup for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Burns guided the Axemen to a bronze medal win at the 2017 U SPORTS National championship tournament inFredericton. 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 17 seasons as head coach, his teams have not made the playoffs only three times – those in his first three years rebuilding the Axemen. With a 302-245-14 regular season and post season record, Darren has made the post season 14 years in a row within one of the toughest university hockey conferences in the country.

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.

Assistant Coach – Mike Alcoe

A retired school teacher, Mike Alcoe has been with the Hockey Axemen as a coach for 28 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.

Assistant Coach – Mark Richards

Mark is in his 16th 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 at Horton High School and resides in Port Williams with wife Sonia and son’s James and Matthew.


Assistant Coach – Kris MacDonald

A native of Orwell PEI, Kris is no stranger to the Annapolis Valley and Acadia University. Kris heads into his fourth 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. with his finance Hiedi Fraser.

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.