Valley business continues longstanding support of university hockey program

At 12 o’clock noon on Friday, 38 teams of golfers will tee off at the Ken-Wo Golf Club in New Minas at the Annual Friends of Axemen Hockey Golf Scramble, sponsored by Harvest Wealth Management. Today, we are proud to officially announce that Harvest Wealth will continue their sponsorship of the Acadia Hockey program, which includes the hockey uniforms and the title sponsorship for the annual golf scramble.

Scott Nichols, Financial Security Advisor and Investment Representative with Harvest Wealth sees great value in the sponsorship for the company and the valley community saying, “Harvest Wealth’s continuing sponsorship of Acadia hockey is two-fold in basic terms; First, Acadia hockey is an institution here in the Valley and has provided entertainment locally in the form of high-level hockey for all ages of spectators to enjoy.  Secondly, the outstanding dedication and support the Acadia hockey players, staff, and coaches give our local youth who participate in our minor hockey programs and camps throughout the year.

Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns was ecstatic with the announcement saying, “We are so appreciative in the generosity of Harvest Wealth and their belief in our program. Their financial commitment is crucial to the success of our players academically. Their generosity in purchasing team uniforms lessens the burden on our team and our Athletics department. They are true leaders in the community, and we appreciate everything they do for us at Acadia. We hope that our efforts on and off the ice make them proud to be partnered with us.”

Watch for announcements next spring on our social platforms, if you would like to register your team for next year’s Golf Scramble.

If you’d like to learn more about Harvest Wealth Management and the services they offer, please visit

Kentville defenceman to suit up for Acadia

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome the Annapolis Valley’s own, Cam Whynot, to the hockey program. The 6’1” defenceman from Kentville will join the Axemen after playing the last four seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. He was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 3rd round of the 2021 NHL draft, 89th overall.

We asked Cam what it will be like to step onto Acadia home ice this fall in front of the hometown crowd that has watched him play since he was a tot, he said, “being able to suit up and play in the place that everything started in is special. It’s a surreal feeling being able to play in front of all the people I care about and who have supported me since day one.”

Cam joins a pair of other Valley natives on the Acadia roster in Bailey Peach, from Falmouth, who is entering his 2nd season with the Axemen, and Brady Burns, from Port Williams, who like Whynot, will be experiencing his 1st season in the AUS this fall.

We asked Cam what Axemen fans can expect to see from him on the ice this season, he said, “fans should expect a steady 2-way defenseman, who is a good puck mover and can play in any situation.”

Whynot was drafted into the QMJHL in 2019 by the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the 1st round, 9th overall, and was traded to the Halifax Mooseheads before the season began. He then suited up for 57 games in his rookie season as a 16 year old. His next three seasons were a model of consistency as he scored 23 points in 34 games, 17 points in 45 games, and this past season he notched 25 points in 48 games. For his QMJHL career, Cam had 74 points in 184 regular season games.

Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns is pleased with the addition of to his lineup saying, “we are very excited to have Cam joining our program. We believe he is one of the top overage defencemen in junior hockey and we look forward to coaching him.

We think it’s a great fit and the timing is right for him. He, unfortunately, endured many injuries last season and he needed rest this summer. He now joins a strong defensive core and he can begin to train and practice at a high level. There’s no pressure on a timeline to return and when he does, he will be playing with a very strong back end. There is no doubt he can be an impact player in this league and he can pursue a long career in the game.

He is an extremely intelligent defenceman, who is an effortless skater with accurate passing skills. His ability to break the puck out is exceptional. We have followed his career from a very young age and to have another local product joining us is very rewarding. We know people in the Annapolis Valley will be thrilled he’s coming home.”

The Axemen begin their pre-season exhibition games on home ice on September 21st as they host the Queen’s Gaels. Get your tickets at the Acadia Box office or online starting September 1st at

2021-22 Centennial Cup champion commits to Acadia

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Brendan Mairs to the hockey program. Brendan, a 6’1” forward, hails from London, Ontario and describes himself as “a taller offensive forward who competes every night, while getting under the other team’s skin.”

He played a total of 5 years split between 2 Junior A leagues. His first 2 seasons he played in the GOJHL with the Strathroy Rockets from 2018-2020, where he scores 94 points in 98 regular season games.

In 2020, he headed west to Alberta to join the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL. In just over 2 seasons with the Bandits, he scored 52 points in 82 games. Mairs and the Bandits not only won the AJHL championship in 2021-22, but also a Centennial Cup Junior A National Championship.

After 10 games with the Bandits last season, Mairs was traded in October to the Drayton Valley Thunder where he registered 53 points in just 44 games and served as an assistant captain with the team. He wrapped up his AJHL career with a total of 105 points in 126 regular season games.

We asked Brendan why he chose Acadia for his next chapter on his journey, and he said, “I chose Acadia because of their history and continued success over the years; and for me, to be a part of a winning culture over the years to come, is what mainly attracted me here.”

Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns feels the Mairs addition plays well for his lineup saying, “Brendan is a player that we believe will thrive at the USports level. He is a very smart player, who shoots the puck well and plays a very dependable two way game, with a team first mentality. He spent two years playing for Axemen alumnus Taylor Makin and we have loved Makes reports on him. Brendan is a very eager and positive person. At the end of the day, he has spent two years of his junior career with the top Junior A team in the country and won a Centennial Cup National Championship. Adding players who have experienced the process of winning is always a huge asset.”

Stay tuned throughout the summer as the Axemen continue to round out their roster for the upcoming season, and as the season draws near, get your season tickets by visiting the Acadia Box Office, or purchase online at

Axemen add former Saint John Seadogs Captain

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Days Corner, PEI’s Charlie Desroches to the hockey program. Desroches, a 5’10” defenceman, played 5 years in the QMJHL, all with the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Over the 5 years, Charlie suited up in 273 regular season games, scoring 145 points, along with 7 points in 15 playoff games.

We asked Charlie what made him choose Acadia, he said, “I chose Acadia University because it is the best opportunity for success both on and off the ice.”

In 2021-22, Desroches was a member of the Memorial Cup winning Sea Dogs, along with fellow recruits Brady Burns and Thomas Couture.

This past season Desroches was named the Captain of the Sea Dogs, this was also his best offensive season of his junior career, posting 35 points in 50 games.

We asked Charlie what Axemen fans can expect to see from him on the ice this fall, he said, “I’m a two way defenseman that moves the puck and can contribute offensively as well.”

Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns expressed his excitement on Desroches commitment saying, “We are so excited to be bringing Charlie to Acadia. We have followed him for many years, and he has been a player we wanted in our program for a long time. As a player he brings many different things to the table. He is extremely smart, sees the ice well and can score from the blue line and off the rush. He has the ability to quarterback the powerplay because he keeps the game simple. He also has the ability to play a shutdown role. His versatility in doing both was very evident in his junior career. What we admire most about Charlie is a quiet confidence and loyalty. He began his junior career with the belief that he could be a cornerstone in Saint John. He went somewhere and bought into a vision and belief, knowing there was a lot of hard work ahead. He wasn’t afraid to sacrifice to win a championship. Adding a player who is all bricks and mortar and has lifted the memorial cup can only help be infectious in our dressing room and on the ice.”

Acadia continues to re-tool their roster for the upcoming season, having now recruited 2 forwards, 2 defensemen, and 2 goalies. As the excitement builds, don’t forget to purchase your Axemen season tickets either by calling the Acadia box office, or purchase online at

Axemen legend to take the stage at the Acadia Celebrity Hockey Dinner on June 22nd

Norm Batherson (centre) pictured in ’93 with his Acadia Axemen linemates, Sean Rowe on the left, and Colin Gregor on the right.

Earlier this June, the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame announced its 2023 inductee class to be celebrated for outstanding contributions to Nova Scotia sport; and one of those inductees, near and dear to our heart, was the 1992-93 Acadia Axemen hockey team. Induction Night 2023 will take place on Saturday, November 25 at 7pm, at the Lighthouse Arts Centre in Halifax.

On Thursday, June 22nd, Acadia Axemen legend, CIAU champion, and Hockey Honour Role member Norm Batherson will take the stage at the Acadia Celebrity Hockey Dinner to speak on the historic announcement, and reflect on the success of the ’92-’93 team.

One of the most dominant university hockey teams to ever play in this country, the Axemen became the first Nova Scotia school to ever win the CIAU University Cup National Hockey Championship, steamrolling the University of Toronto 12-1 on March 21, 1993. Axemen players received 10 awards of MVP or All-Star at either the conference or national level during the season, and four of these were awarded to Nova Scotia-born members of the team. Coach Tom Coolen was named CIAU Coach of the Year and captain George Dupont was named a CIAU All-Canadian.

The championship win was a culmination of growth from the previous two seasons as the Axemen had finished in 3rd place in the AUAA in 1990-91, and vaulted to a 18-4-2 record in 1991-92, easily laying claim to the Kelly Division title. They were ranked #1 in the nation, unbeaten at home, and capped the year by nabbing Acadia’s first AUAA championship in 43 years. The Axemen would make it all the way to the CIAU finals, facing off against the Alberta Golden Bears. In a see-saw battle that wasn’t decided until the final period, the Golden Bears prevailed by a 5-2 score. A loss the Axemen would remember on route to their 1992-93 CIAU finals victory.

Batherson would move on to a long and successful professional career following the national championship win, joining the Ottawa Senators’ organization playing for their affiliate and later the Prince Edward Island Senators of the American Hockey League (AHL). In 1994, Batherson joined the Washington Capitals’ organization and played for the Portland Pirates in the AHL from 1994 until 1998, with a stint with the Fort Wayne Komets in the 1997–98 season. In 1996, Batherson was a member of their Calder Cup finalist team, scoring 11 goals and 19 points in 24 playoff games. In all, Batherson played 259 games in the AHL, scoring 65 goals and 111 assists.

In 1998, he moved to Germany where he played in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), playing for 8 seasons before retiring in 2006. In his final season, he was a member of the Tigers’ German Cup championship. Norm retired as the league’s all-time scorer.

Current Acadia Axemen Head Coach and National Championship teammate of Batherson, Darren Burns, reflected on having Norm speak at the Dinner saying, “We are extremely excited that we will be able to have Normie on stage to represent the ’93 national championship team. Norm is an Acadia legend and had a tremendous hockey career. As an Axemen, he was an unbelievable hockey player who was always dominate, but he was an even better teammate. He set the highest of standards for performance, and treated every team member with the utmost respect. He was what you want a player to be on and off the ice.”

For tickets to the Acadia Celebrity Hockey Dinner taking place on June 22nd, and to hear Norm speak, visit the Acadia Box office or visit

Induction to take place at the Celebrity Hockey Dinner on June 22nd

The Acadia Axemen will add three more legendary names to their Acadia Hockey Honour Roll in the coming weeks. It was announced today that Acadia alumnus and former Axemen captain Paul McFarland, and former assistant coaches Jim Midgley & Troy Ryan will be inducted during the Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner on June 22nd.

McFarland played for the Axemen for four seasons from 2006-2010, Captaining the team for 3 seasons. In 2019, the Axemen would introduce an annual award in Paul’s name, the Paul McFarland Captain in the Community Award, to recognize a player for demonstrating leadership qualities in the combination of academics, athletics, and involvement in the community.

In 2020, Paul was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni award from the Acadia Alumni Association.

Paul is currently the assistant coach of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, after previously holding the same position with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers.

Jim Midgley, was an assistant coach with the Axemen from 2003-2007, he would spend 4 seasons with the Axemen under Head Coach Darren Burns, highlighted by back-to-back 1st place AUS finishes in 2004-05 & 2005-06, and winning the AUS championship in 2005-06, earning a birth in the UCup tournament.

Midgley went on to win the Memorial Cup as an assistant coach with the Halifax Mooseheads, before taking over as Head Coach of the team for the 2017-18 season. The past two seasons, he served as an assistant coach in the NHL, with the New York Rangers with PEI’s Gerard Gallant as the Head Coach.

Troy Ryan, was an assistant coach at Acadia from 2001-2003. The Axemen were in rebuilding mode and Troy was essential in nurturing the young team to learn and grow despite missing the playoffs. He would spend 2 seasons with Acadia before moving on to become a head coach and general manager in the Junior A, Maritime Hockey League.

Ryan has been the Head Coach of the Women’s National Team since 2021, leading Team Canada to back-to-back gold medal finishes at the 2021 and 2022 World Women’s Hockey championships. His Team Canada team won the gold medal at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

In April of this year, the Canadian women’s team finished just short in its bid for a third-straight IIHF Women’s World Championship gold medal, falling to their arch rival, the United States.

This past May, Troy was an assistant coach with Hockey Canada’s Men’s World Championship gold medal winning team. Troy also serves as the Head Coach of the Dalhousie women’s hockey team.

Acadia Head Coach Darren Burns welcomed the announcement of the 3 inductees to the Honour Roll saying, “This is an extremely special event for the Acadia Hockey Program. The Acadia Hockey Honour Roll is a very prestigious part of our program. There are so many people who have given so much to Acadia and have continued to be exceptional contributors to the game, across the globe, when they leave Acadia. Inducting Troy, Jim, and Paul into the Acadia Hockey Honour Roll at the Acadia Celebrity Hockey Dinner makes it that much more special. These three individuals have had a tremendous impact on not just Acadia Hockey and the Acadia Community, they have also coached at the highest levels in the world. When you achieve this, you positively impact so many along the way. Bringing them back to the Annapolis Valley and to our arena is going to make for a very special day.”

The Acadia Celebrity Hockey Dinner takes place on Thursday, June 22nd at 7pm, with headlining celebrity Guy Carbonneau. For tickets, please contact the Acadia box office, or visit

Acadia receives a commitment from OHL offensive blueliner

Peterborough native Tyler Deline had a breakout season with the Flint Firebirds in 2021-22 – photo credit to Todd Boone

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Flint Firebirds alumnus Tyler Deline to the program. The 5’10” defenceman from Peterborough, Ontario is a left shot, who put up 82 points in 171 regular season games in the OHL, including 144 PIMs, and was a +21 over his time in Flint. He also added 10 points in 22 career playoff games.

We asked Tyler why he chose Acadia University & the Axemen, and he said, “I felt like Acadia was the best place for me to become a better player on the ice and academically in the classroom as well.”


After making his OHL debut in the 2018-19 season, he played in his 1st full year with the Flint Firebirds in 2019-20 where he had 6 points in 43 games; the 2020-21 season was cancelled in the OHL due to the pandemic. In 2021-22, Deline returned to Flint with additional offensive punch putting up 38 points in 61 games, and another 9 in 15 post season games. This past season he remained consistent with 37 points in 58 games and was a +16.


Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns sees the addition of Deline as a boost to the team’s backend saying, “Tyler is an excellent addition to our back end heading into next year. We believe he has very strong offensive instincts and makes smart passes coming out of his end and on the powerplay. He combines a very intelligent poised skill set, with good vision, and also has the grit that is needed to succeed in our league. In our conversations with him it was very evident that he is a low maintenance kid who loves the game. We want to add players who want to get better, will bring an offensive game, and love hockey. He checks these boxes.


Deline described a glimpse of what we can expect this fall from him saying, “Axemen fans can expect a defenseman who likes to create offence and plays with lots of passion and grit.”


Deline joins an impressive recruiting class for Acadia, with netminders Thomas Couture & Brayden Peters, and forwards Brady Burns & Ethan Ernst.


Stay tuned for more commitment announcements in the coming weeks as the Axemen continue to round out their roster for the upcoming season. And remember to get your Acadia Axemen hockey season ticket package at the Acadia Box Office, or online at



Axemen add former Calgary Hitmen netminder to program.

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome goaltender Brayden Peters to the program. The 6’1” native of Taber, Alberta played his junior career in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, playing a total of 138 regular season games, posting a 2.95 goals against average, a .904 save percentage, with 7 shutouts and a 64-58-9 record.

We asked Brayden, why he chose Acadia University, and he said, “When I went out to visit the town and to tour the school I was really impressed with the culture out there and how genuine and nice the people were to me in my day, exploring the area. It really made me feel welcome from the start and made Wolfville a place I could see myself living and enjoying for the next 4 years.”

In his 1st full season with the Hitmen in 2019-20, he played in 35 games, with a 2.76 GAA, and .902 SV%, with a 17-15-2 record. The 2020-21 season was the Covid shortened season, where he went 6-6-1.

In 2021-22, in 47 games, he had a 2.98 GAA .906 SV% , 3 SO and 21-23-3 record. And this past season he had another strong season in 41 games, posting a 2.84 GAA, .909 SV% , 3 SO and 19-14-3 record.

Prior to joining the Hitmen, as a member of the Lethbridge Hurricanes U18 AAA team, he was named the league’s top goaltender, with an AMHL best goals against average of 1.22, and best save percentage at .944.

Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns is pleased with the addition of Peters saying, “This addition is a big boost for our program. Brayden has been a strong major junior hockey goalie with a tremendous work ethic. He is a very well-respected teammate and known as a player who works extremely hard every day. He is a student of the game and his passion for the game is evident in every conversation. His team-first attitude will no doubt strengthen us both in the dressing room and on the ice.”


We asked Peters about the upcoming season and his style of play and he said, “I think Axemen fans can expect me to come in and be a consistent goalie and know what they can expect from me night in, night out. I want to go in and do everything I can to give our team a chance to win every night no matter how it happens, having success as a team is my ultimate goal. I would describe myself as an athletic goalie, putting myself into a position to make the first save and battling for everything after that. I like to think I’m pretty composed and keep calm under pressure and coming in as a first year goalie I think that will benefit myself and hopefully lead to a successful season for everyone.”


Brayden Peters is the second goalie recruited by the Axemen this off season, joining highly touted Thomas Couture. The Axemen have also added a pair of forwards in Ethan Ernst and Port Williams’ Brady Burns.


Stay tuned for more recruitment announcements, and with the excitement building for the upcoming season, get your season tickets today either at the Acadia Box Office or online at

Saint John SeaDogs’ all-time leading scorer joins the Axemen

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Port Williams native Brady Burns to the hockey program. Brady has played the last 5 seasons with the Saint John SeaDogs, of the QMJHL, where he became their franchise all time leader in goals and points this season.


Over his QMJHL career he amassed 258 points, including 116 goals, in 290 regular season games, along with 9 points in 16 playoff games.


We asked Brady what Axemen fans could expect from him on the ice this fall, he said, “Fans can expect a hard working forward, who has good skill and touch around the net, and is excited to play a fast Acadia Axemen style of game.”


Prior to joining the Sea Dogs, Burns played his minor hockey in the Valley, including his 1st year of NSMBHL when he suited up for the Valley (Kings Mutual) Wildcats, before moving on in 2016-17 to play with the Notre Dame Hounds U15 Prep. The next season in 2017-18 he returned to the Valley and played a year of NSMMHL with the Valley Wildcats scoring 39 points in 26 games.


In the 2018 QMJHL Entry draft, Saint John picked Burns in the 2nd round, 29th overall. He joined the SeaDogs as a 16 year old the next fall, putting up 29 points in 65 games.


The 2021-22 season proved to be a magical one for Brady and the SeaDogs, winning the Memorial Cup  on home ice in Saint John. Fellow Axemen recruit for the upcoming season, Thomas Couture, was also a member of the MEM Cup winning team. This past season was Burns’ best offensively, as he recorded 71 points in just 61 games, including a QMJHL personal best 33 goals.


Coach Darren Burns sees the addition of the former Saint John sniper as an important piece to the lineup moving forward saying, “We are excited to add Brady to our program. We feel he fits what we need to help us build for the upcoming season. He brings many intangibles we want in our lineup. His passion for the game is at an extremely high level. He’s grown up watching this league, so he is aware of what he needs to improve on, in his game, to make the jump to the AUS. We want players that are loyal and understand commitment, and we feel he can bring that here to Acadia. We like the fact that he went to Saint John and targeted the SeaDogs and the QMJHL as the place he wanted to be at a very young age. He was part of a group that experienced a special time there. He has also benefited from the experience of the struggles of a rebuild, with success, as the team finished the year exceeding expectations. The passion for hockey is second to none in Saint John, and playing for a prestigious program like the Sea dogs has pressure and expectations with it. We want these types of players, who are accustomed to playing where hockey is high profile and there is pressure to win.”


We asked what it meant to him to be playing for Acadia, in front of the Valley fans again, Brady said, “Playing at home, in the Valley, is very exciting for me; to get the chance to come home after a long time away and play in front of fans, that I grew up watching games with, is a surreal feeling as a local player.”


Brady Burns becomes the 3rd member of an impressive recruiting trio announced thus far by the Axemen, along with goaltender Thomas Couture and forward Ethan Ernst. More commitments are expected to be announced in the coming weeks as the Axemen look to build their roster for the upcoming season.


A reminder that Acadia Axemen hockey season tickets are available for purchase both at the Acadia Box office, or online at! Get yours today and join in for the excitement for the 2023-24 season.