Peterborough Petes OHL alumnus commits to Acadia

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome goaltender Tye Austin to the hockey program. Austin is a 6’4” netminder from Pembroke, Ontario; he has played the last 4 seasons with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. In 63 career regular season games with the Petes, he went 20-27-3 with a .876 save percentage.

We asked Tye, why he chose Acadia to continue his studies and his hockey journey, he said, “I chose Acadia after speaking with a few past and present Axemen, and everyone had nothing but good things to say about the high-end hockey program and the great people! I love the strong community aspect of Acadia and I’m excited to grow as a player and person there!

Austin will join Zachary Paputsakis, another 1st year netminder, along with 3rd string Conor McCollum, a 5th year goalie, in the crease for the Axemen this season.

Tye had a strong rookie campaign in ’18-19, going 5-7 with a .879 SV% and continued to build on that season and had begun to hit his stride in the OHL right before the 2019-20 season was suspended and eventually cancelled. While the OHL season was cancelled from 20-21 and most players weren’t able to hit the ice all year, he was given the opportunity to train with the Belleville Senators of the AHL while they played out of Ottawa.This past season, his 4th in the OHL, he was named the OHL goalie of the week last year from Nov. 22 – Nov. 28, and went on to post a 9-13-2 record with a .877 save percentage in 27 games.

Axemen coach Darren Burns likes the addition of Austin to his team’s crease saying, “We are really happy to be able to add Tye to the Axemen. We have heard some tremendous things about his work ethic and commitment to his team. We feel he is a player who is going to continue to get better each year because of his passion for the game. With his athleticism and commitment we feel confident that he will be a great addition to our team.”

Austin’s accomplishments off the ice have been just as impressive. Austin was the recipient of the Petes scholastic award in both 2019 and 2020 effectively being able to balance a busy hockey and school schedule. He was also awarded OHL’s East Division Academic Player of the Month for December 2019 and OHL’s Academic Player of the Month in January 2020.

We asked Tye to describe his game in goal, and he said, “Axemen fans can expect me to be a large presence in net, I’m a very athletic goalie that uses my size and ability to read plays to my advantage.”

Axemen training camp is now underway in Wolfville, with the team beginning pre-season action on Friday, September 23rd vs UNB.

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Former NCAA Alaska forward transfers to Acadia

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome forward Matt McKim to the hockey program this upcoming fall. The St. John’s, Newfoundland native played last season with the NCAA’s Division 1 University of Alaska-Fairbanks, suiting up in 6 games, while adding 1 assist on the season.

Matt is the son of Andrew McKim, a former NHLer and AHL St. John’s Maple Leafs’ all-star.

McKim played for the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL Junior ‘A’ league in 2018-19 where he scored 31 points in 58 games. He then moved on to the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL in 2019-20, where he notched 85 points in 57 games. After 4 games with the Pontiacs in 2020-21, he joined the Valley Wildcats of the MJAHL, where he had 21 points in 17 regular season games.

We asked Matt why he chose Acadia, he said, “Acadia has a very strong and proud history, between the awesome location, traditions, and academics, I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I think it’s going to be a great place where I can excel both on and off the ice.”

Axemen head coach Darren Burns likes the addition of McKim to the the Acadia lineup saying, “Matthew is going to bring a strong offensive punch to our line up. He is an extremely intelligent player who sees the ice well and has quick hands. He is a student of the game who has an excellent work ethic. Coming in as a transfer it will help make the adjustment much easier already playing a year of college hockey.”

We asked McKim what Axemen fans can expect from him on the ice this fall, he said, “I would describe my game as a playmaking forward and can expect the same game night in and out. I would like to come into this fall and help out offensively along with having a solid defensive game.”

Axemen add OJHL’s Top Defenceman

PICKERING, ON – October 29, 2021 – Photo by Shawn Muir / OJHL Images

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Brendan Tomilson to the hockey program this fall. The 6 foot tall defenceman, from Cameron, Ontario joins the Axemen after captaining his Pickering Panthers within 1 game of winning the Junior ‘A’ National Championship, losing 4-1 to the Brooks Bandits in the Centennial Cup final.

Tomilson was named the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) Defenceman of the Year for 2021-22 scoring 55 points, 14 goals and 41 assists, in 54 regular season games.

Brendan joined the Panthers last fall after playing two seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he added 17 points in 80 regular season games.

Tomilson says Acadia has been on his radar saying, “While playing in Halifax for a couple years I heard a lot about the atmosphere around Acadia and how close of a community it is with having the small-town feel. Acadia offers both a first-class education as well as a first-class hockey program that sees a lot of players turn pro, and after talking to the coaching staff it felt like a perfect fit for me from all aspects.”

Axemen head coach Darren Burns likes the latest addition to his roster saying, “We feel Brendan is going to be a player who is taylor made for the AUS. He is an extremely hard working defenceman who is a fierce competitor and prides himself in being in top notch shape. He is coming off an excellent year where he logged a lot of ice time playing  for Pickering, who made it all the way to the Centennial Cup Final. He makes a real efficient first pass coming out of the defensive zone and we know he has a team first attitude and is a player who never under achieves. This mentality will be a huge addition to our back end this season.”

Prior to suiting up with the Mooseheads, Brendan played for the Lindsay Muskies of the OJHL from 2017-19 notching 19 points in 101 games.

“Axemen fans can except to see a hard-nosed and responsible two-way defenceman. I take a lot of pride in the D zone and making a good first pass to exit the zone, but also like to jump up into the rush and contribute on the offensive side. With saying that, I also like to play a very physical in your face style of hockey, and am willing to do whatever is needed from me to help our team win,” said Tomilson.

The Acadia Axemen have promoted Taylor Roberts to Video Coach after supporting the team over the past season in a hockey operations role.

Axemen head coach Darren Burns said this about Roberts promotion, “We are very excited to add to Taylor’s responsibilities with our program. He did a terrific job as a student, in the role of hockey operations. We need to continue to build a staff to meet the needs of players, who are choosing our program to develop as hockey players. He has done an excellent job for us and just spent the last five weeks working with the Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs. He was a very valuable addition to their team, and he was surrounded by some extremely high-level hockey executives, consultants, and coaches. Being immersed in the preparations for this tournament will only benefit him and what he can bring to the Axemen hockey program moving forward. To compete at the highest level, we need to continually work to build strengths in our program. We know Taylor can use his experiences and passion for the game to help us get better.”

Roberts will be providing an in-depth and broken down video analysis of the games to maximize the team’s play and the players’ success, while also overseeing all hockey operations from scheduling, finances and logistics for the team.

Congratulations to Taylor on the new role.

Coach Burns shares off-season insight

Photo credit: Peter Oleskevich – PJO Photography

As June comes to a close, the Acadia Axemen are midway through their off-season and preparations continue for the upcoming 2022-23 season. We caught up with Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns to catch up on the program happenings throughout the spring and summer months:


Q: It has been a couple months since you hosted UCup at Acadia, reflect on what that experience meant for the team and for the community.


A: The university cup experience was excellent for our players. After the last two years it was great for them to experience true crowds and the buzz for hockey here in the Valley. As you know the following here is unlike any other in U Sports. It’s a continuation of the major junior experience for these players because the team is also entrenched in community. Also, alumni representation was very high. I really hope the excitement of the event will continue to bring people in the building this year.


Q: You’re in the midst of a large recruiting off-season. Let us know where you are in the process.


A: We are very happy with where we are at in the recruiting process, and we feel we have added many new key pieces. We are still active in the process as we had quite a high turnover, with players leaving for pro last year. We are excited about our additions, but the work is not done.


Q: With the current players and the new recruits in mind, what type of team will the Acadia Axemen be when the puck drops on October 5th for the 2022-23 season?


A: We feel we will be a very hard-working team, who will be able to play a strong defensive game. We needed to upgrade the offensive component to our game and playing on a big ice surface it’s crucial to be able to skate. These are key elements for us. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what type of team we will be; however, we think it’s crucial that work ethic and passion needs to be our staple.


Q: The Axemen summer hockey camps are on the horizon, share what those camps mean to you and the players who help to run the camps?


A: It’s hard to believe, but our hockey camps will be starting in just a few weeks, in late July. These are crucial for our team and give our players an opportunity to be together and work with youth in the community. An education outside the classroom I think you could say. Enrolment is very high, and I think this is due to the excellent support we get from the community, our players commitment, and most of all Associate Coach Kris MacDonald and his tireless commitment.


Q: The annual Harvest Wealth Friends of Acadia Hockey Golf Scramble has officially sold out, what does the support of so many Valley businesses and professionals mean to the hockey program?


A: Our Harvest Wealth Friends of Acadia Golf Scramble has become a staple for our program. It is sold out again this year and it just shows the support we get from our major sponsor and so many other businesses in this community. It’s crucial for our program and a great event to bring players and community together. This is another great example of the tremendous support we get from the Valley community.


Q: After 2 years of ‘pandemic hockey’, explain the buzz of hopefully a ‘normal’ season this year?


A: We are very excited in preparing for the upcoming season. After the past two years of fragmentation. It is going to be incredible to prepare for this season. I know our team is excited. Unfortunately, last season didn’t come close to meeting our standards as a program. This falls solely on me. I personally look forward to getting started. Our hockey alumni, fans and university deserve elite performance. We’ve discussed this as a team in April. This off-season has been one of anticipation for a chance to prove ourselves.

Thanks to Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns for catching us up on everything Axemen this off-season.

Take advantage of our Early Bird Pricing and get your 2022-23 Acadia Axemen hockey season tickets today. Get your tickets for all 15 regular season home games at the Andrew H. McCain Arena here:


Axemen add 6’6″ WHL alumnus forward

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, Cole Nagy to the program this fall.

Over 4 seasons in the WHL, the 6’6” forward played in 130 regular season games, notching 64 points. Cole first suited up with the Prince Albert Raiders for 2 games 2018-19 and returned to the team the next season to play in 25 games before being traded to the Swift Current Broncos where he would play the next 2 ½ seasons. This past season was his best statistical season, with 34 points in 48 games. In 2020-21 the WHL played a shortened season in a bubble, where Nagy had 16 points in 23 games.


As to why he chose Acadia, Cole said, “I’ve only heard good things about Acadia, and after talking to the coaching staff I felt like it is the best fit for me moving forward with academics and hockey. I really like the small town feel, where everyone knows everyone, and I’m excited to get started.”


Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns sees Nagy as a key addition noting, “Cole is going to be an invaluable addition to our team. We believe he is going to give us much needed size up the middle and is a very good face off man. He will provide good net front presence on the powerplay and is a very good penalty killer. We believe he is a player who will continue to grow his game in this league. His leadership qualities will also be a huge asset on and off the ice.”


Nagy described what Axemen fans can expect to see from him on ice this face saying, “I am a hard-working 200 foot player that takes pride in the small details of the game.”

Axemen add WHL alumnus forward

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Corson Hopwo to the hockey program this fall.

Corson hails from Victoria, BC, and playing his junior career in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The 5’11” forward racked up 106 points over 201 regular season games, including 47 goals.

Hopwo was drafted by the Tigers in the 7th round of the 2016 WHL draft, and joined the Tigers for one game in 2017-18. He would return to the Tigers for 3 1/2 more seasons, with his best statistical season being in the 2020-21 season, which was shortened due to the Covid pandemic. In that season Corson, while wearing the ‘A’ for Medicine Hat, scored 22 points, including 14 goals in just 23 games. Midway through last season, the Lethbridge Hurricanes made a trade to add Hopwo, where he added 10 points in 31 games.

We caught up with Corson on the news of his commitment and asked why Acadia was his choice of Universities to play for, he said, “I chose Acadia because I felt like it suited my situation perfectly. Firstly, the aspect of having smaller class sizes and being more personal with your professors really spoke to me; while playing hockey I wasn’t taking any university courses so being able to have that relationship and connection to the professors was a big factor! Secondly, the hockey program seemed very professional. The facilities, coaching staff and everything in-between are all so top tier and with still having a goal to sign a pro contract, I felt that choosing Acadia would help me fulfill that goal.”

Coach Darren Burns likes the addition of Hopwo to his squad for the upcoming season saying, “We were extremely impressed with Corson during the recruiting process. He has an excellent knowledge of the game and comes from a strong hockey background. He is a very intelligent player who skates extremely well. We feel his quickness and hockey smarts will help him make the jump to AUS hockey and help provide offence for our team.”

Hopwo says, “Axemen fans can expect to see a hard working, competitive, skilled 200 foot player that likes to chip in on the offensive when he can. I strive to be responsible in the d-zone first; however, I love playing in the o-zone as well. With that being said I still have tons to work on and love the challenge of getting better. ”

With the 2022-23 regular schedule being recently released, the Axemen’s first regular season game will take place on October 5th, in Halifax as they face the Dalhousie Tigers.

Acadia adds former Erie Otter Co-Captain

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Brendan Sellan to the program this fall.

Hailing from Bolton, Ontario, Brendan played his four years of junior hockey in the OHL, with the Erie Otters, and served as the team Co-Captain this past season. In 193 regular season games, he had 82 points, including a career high 20 goals and 40 points in 66 games in 2021-22. The OHL did not play games in 2020-21 due to the pandemic.

We asked Brendan, “Why Acadia?” and he said, “What made me choose Acadia is the rich history the school and hockey program has. As well as the small town feel of the school coming from a small town myself. Another big thing for me was the number of players coming out of Acadia and moving on to the pro ranks, coming here will help me advance my hockey and school career immensely.”

Axemen head coach Darren Burns sees Sellan as a key addition to the team saying, “Brendan is a player who can check a lot of boxes for a coach. He plays a high tempo game, with a very strong work ethic and exudes great leadership qualities. He is a player who has shown he can play a strong defensive game, but create offence as well, because of his intelligence level. These are all characteristics needed to succeed in our league. His desire and accountability will make him a great addition to our program.”

Sellan is excited about the opportunity to play in front of the hometown Axemen crowd saying, “Fans can expect a guy that comes in every night ready to do whatever it takes to win, no matter what it is. I am a 200-foot player that prides myself in playing in the defensive zone just as much as the offensive zone. I think I have a good hockey IQ and can see the ice well, making plays when needed.”

Former OHL Oshawa Generals netminder commits to Axemen

The Acadia Axemen hockey program is proud to welcome Zachary Paputsakis to the team this fall. Paputsakis, a 6’3” goalie from Rockland, Ontario, joins the Axemen after spending the past 3 years with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He played in 55 games over that span, going 18-19-7 with a 3.25 Goals Against Average and a .903 save percentage. The OHL did not play any games in 2020-21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


We asked Zach about his decision to commit to the Acadia, he said, “I chose Acadia because I wanted to play for a top notch hockey program as well as get a great education and Acadia offered both of those. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Acadia and I can’t wait to get down there and experience everything that Acadia and the east coast has to offer.”


When asked to describe his style of play in net, Paputsakis said, “I would describe myself as a big goalie who uses my size to my advantage, has good hockey IQ, reads the play well and uses my athleticism to move well post to post.”


Zach will join Brandon, Manitoba’s Max Paddock to form a formidable tandem in the Acadia crease for the future years with Paddock entering just his second season this fall.


Check out this highlight reel save from Paputsakis against Kingston on February 27, 2022:


Axemen head coach Darren Burns added, “We are eager to have Zach join the program. We know he is an extremely competitive and focused goalie, who will continue to improve as a player. His focus and maturity during the recruiting process quickly made us realize he is a great fit for our team. We believe his competitiveness will be a great injection for us moving forward.”


Paputsakis becomes the third recruit for the Axemen upcoming season, with forwards Bailey Peach and Liam Kidney being announced throughout this past season.

Corneil nets 3 goals and adds assist in Acadia win

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – It was a cold Saturday night in Wolfville, but the Acadia Axemen (7-13-1) were hot, coming off a close 3-2 overtime shootout loss to the No. 1 ranked UNB last night, as they beat the Moncton Aigles Bleus (5-15-2) by a score of 6-3.

Subway First Star of the Game Johnny Corneil accounted for half of the Axemen’s goals on the night, as he potted a natural hat trick in the second period.

“It was a full team effort tonight. We have been preparing for this weekend and a tough loss last night against UNB, but we were so ready to come in tonight and we didn’t let up. We wanted to win,” said Corneil after the game.

When asked whether he has ever scored a natural hat trick, Corneil replied “I don’t think I have. I think I have only had one hat trick since junior started.”

Nick Deakin-Poot grabbed two assists and third star of the night honours for the Axemen.

It was an even-handed first period, with both teams firing 12 shots on net.

Moncton put up the first goal of the game when the second star of the night Denis Toner threw a shot on net from the face-off circle that fooled the Axemen goaltender Max Paddock.

Acadia came back with a pair of goals in the first from Keegan Stevenson and Merrick Rippon.

Stevenson took a pass from Jack Flaman, deked to his backhand, and slid the puck into the open net.

Rippon gave his team the lead with 6:03 remaining in the frame, jamming the puck in on a mad scramble in front of the Moncton net.

The second period saw an offensive onslaught from the Axemen, as they peppered 16 shots on net with 3 goals to show for their work.

Johnny Corneil netted a natural hat trick for Acadia in the frame with one coming on a backhand in tight, the second coming on a wrist shot in front from a feed by Nick Deakin-Poot who was working behind the Moncton net, and the final coming on a slapshot from the point.

Corneil’s were the only three goals of the period.

Moncton mounted an unsuccessful comeback in the third, scoring two from Olivier-Luc Hache and Vincent Deslauriers.

Hache scored on a soft wrist shot in front, while Deslauriers ripped a wrister into the top right corner of the net before getting dropped by an Axemen defender that led to a minor fight.

Stevenson iced the game for Acadia – his second of the night – after coming in on the left side of the offensive zone before wiring a shot into the top left corner to make it 6-3.

Paddock stopped 32 of 35 shots on the night, while his Aigles Bleus counterpart Etienne Montpetit turned aside 30 of 36 shots.

Acadia returns to play Wednesday, Mar. 2 at Saint Mary’s before coming home to wrap up their regular season against UPEI next Saturday. Moncton will host Dalhousie and StFX next Friday and Saturday night, respectively. Puck drop for both all games at 7 pm.

Provided by Josh Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications