Acadia University’s Connections with Mr. Béliveau

Jean Beliveau in 1998, touring thru Valley with Connie MacNeil and Garth Vaughan.
Jean Beliveau in 1998, touring thru Valley with Connie MacNeil and Garth Vaughan. (Photo from Kevin Dickie)

The world lost a great man on Tuesday evening, a hockey legend, an ambassador of the game, and a role model for us all. Mr. Jean Béliveau passed away at the age of 83, his name appears on the Stanley Cup 10 times as a player, all with the Montreal Canadiens where he played his entire 20 year NHL career, and was captain of the storied franchise from 1961 until his retirement in 1971. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in June of 1972.

Béliveau’s career didn’t end when he hung up his skates, however. He moved his love of hockey off of the rink and into the community. In addition to working as the senior vice-president and director of relations for the Canadiens, Béliveau has devoted time to working with children. He began the Jean Béliveau Foundation, which gives grants to youth organizations for equipment, in 1971 with the money that was given to him in honour of his 500th goal, and has travelled across Canada on behalf of the Big Brothers Association. Béliveau became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1969. He has had countless other awards bestowed upon him over the years, and reluctantly had to turn down opportunities to become a senator and governor general of Canada. He opted not to go to Ottawa as he felt he had to stay home and help raise his daughter’s children, who lost their father, a Quebec police constable, to suicide.

We at Acadia University had some special connections with ‘Le Gros Bill’ as he was nicknamed in his playing days. In 1998 he received an Honourary Degree from Acadia University. Béliveau’s ancestry traces back to Antoine Béliveau, who settled in 1642 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The Béliveau’s were expelled along with the Acadians in 1755 and the family settled in the Boston area before moving to Québec to the Trois Rivières area in the mid-19th century.

Mr. Béliveau didn’t just view his appearances as duties or jobs, instead he was a man who was 100% genuine; he wanted to know more about where he was, the history, and what he could do to help, he genuinely cared.Read more »

AC Celebration AC Liam HeelisWe’ve looked at the Axemen defence & and the goaltending so far in this five part series, and now it’s time to look at the third question. Question #3 going into this season, regarding this year’s Acadia Axemen team from AUS enthusiasts was whether or not the big line could repeat on their production of a year ago?

Last season, Mike Cazzola, Liam Heelis, and Brett Thompson were all but unstoppable, they put up big numbers and controlled games. Cazzola and Heelis tied at the top of AUS league scoring with 42 points each, with Heelis being awarded the top spot after scoring 24 goals in 26 games. Heelis was also named CIS Hockey’s most valuable player. Brett Thompson, the third member of the big line finished 8th in AUS scoring with 33 points in 27 games. This scoring machine led the Axemen to a 21-7 regular season record and an AUS title, leading to a trip to the CIS University Cup.

Going into this season, the question was can they do it again? Well, let’s look at the AUS leaders after 16 games at the exam/holiday break. The big three sit 1, 2, and 4 in league scoring, with Heelis sitting 4th with 20 points, Cazzola 2nd with 23, and Brett Thompson with a league best 24 points, along with being tied for tops in the AUS with 12 goals; Thompson’s 12 goals tie his CIS career high from last year for goals in a season.Read more »

BrandonGloverOn Sunday, in our first of five questions answered by the Axemen in the first half of the AUS season, we looked at the question of defence. Today, we look at question number 2 on the minds of many AUS enthusiasts for the Acadia team heading into the 2014-15 season, goaltending.

Last season, Evan Mosher led the Axemen to the AUS championship and a birth in the CIS University Cup tournament. Along the way, Mosher was named a first team AUS all-star and a second team CIS all-star, and a nominee for the CIS top goaltender. Mosher graduated and moved on to the ECHL’s Quad City Mallards this season, leaving questions in goal for Acadia, how do you replace arguably the second best goalie in the country?

The Axemen recruited former QMJHL Gatineau Olympiques and Acadie-Bathurst Titan starting goalie, Robert Steeves, and went in to training camp relying heavily on second year goalie Brandon Glover. Glover was selected to the AUS all-rookie team last season after posting a 4-2 record in 7 games with a .882 save % and a 3.13 goals against average. Impressive numbers for a first year backup, but would he be able to fill the shoes left by the departure of Mosher?Read more »

2014-08-11-11-13-12-Chris OwensThe first half of the AUS season is over, actually more than half the games on the season have been played already, as this season due to the National tournament being hosted by the AUS conference, the teams played 16 of the 28 games prior to the Exam/Holiday break, instead of the standard 14. The Axemen finished those 16 games with a 12-3-1 record, tied for 2nd, and one point out of the AUS top spot. Over the next ten days, we’ll look back at the Axemen first half of the season, and the top 5 questions AUS enthusiasts and fans had about this year’s Axemen team, and the outcome thus far in those 5 areas.

The first and arguably most important question was the team’s defense.

As the season began, they had only 1 regular defenseman from last year, Travis Gibbons, in the lineup. With Cullen Morin, Leo Jenner, Colin Archer, and Chris Owens graduating or moving on from last year’s team, and AUS all-rookie team member Geoff Schemitsch projected to be out for most of the first half with an injury. There were many questions about how the Axemen defense would fair, and rightfully so.IMG_0534 - Copy

But the Axemen recruits Dan Poliziani, Stephen Woodworth, and Matt Pufahl have played exceptionally well in their first taste of AUS/CIS action. Still short on the backend, the Axemen moved two players who had played forward last year, in Tyler Ferry and Travis Randell, back to defense; Randell had seen action in 2012-13 as a defenceman for the Axemen. The two didn’t miss a beat on the blueline… at no time are we left thinking that they look like forwards playing defence, instead they looked like naturals on the blueline. 2nd year defenceman Chris Buonomo also saw action in four games in the first half of the season.Read more »

Axemen Earn Point to Enter Break Tied for Second in AUS

IMG_2508The game was billed as a head to head matchup of two bitter rivals, two of the top 5 best teams in the country, two teams sitting atop the AUS separated by only one point… and the two teams lived up to the billing tonight.

Right from the first faceoff, there was a playoff like intensity to the game, where any mistake or misplay seemed to be magnified and every loose puck was a battle, all of which made for great hockey to watch.

The first period was a scoreless affair, with the shots on goal showing SMU ahead 9-6, however, the scoring chances heavily favored the Axemen as they had some great chances to get on the board, but Anthony Peters was sharp when he had to be, and there was a few pucks that just missed net. The Axemen best chance came off the stick of Tyler Ferry who broke in on a two on one with Mike Cazzola; Cazzola fed the puck over to Ferry who redirected the puck just over the gaping net. Then with just under two minutes remaining in the period, league leading scorer Brett Thompson stepped out from the side of the net and found himself alone with Peters; there wasn’t much room but Thompson tried to tuck the puck upstairs, but ended up getting too much of it and sent the puck over the glass.

Meanwhile, Axemen goalie Brandon Glover turned away all 9 shots he faced in the opening period. Early in the second period, Glover made a great save to keep the game scoreless; a loose puck came to Huskie sniper Stephen MacAulay at the side of the net, as he went to slide the puck home, Glover stretched his left leg out to make the stop.Read more »

Axemen win 5-1, move into 1st place in AUS

Brett Thompson scored 3 in the win, now has 12 on the season.
Brett Thompson scored 3 in the win, now has 12 on the season.

The Acadia Axemen made it 5 straight victories with a 5-1 win over the Dalhousie Tigers on Wednesday night in Wolfville.

With the win, Acadia moves into a first place tie with the UNB Varsity Reds, one point up on the Saint Mary’s Huskies. Acadia will visit SMU on Friday night in the final game of the first half of the season for the Axemen, in a matchup that could decide who will sit on top of the AUS when we ring in 2015.

But back to tonight’s game, Acadia came out strong scoring on the powerplay just 1:02 into the game. After Dal’s Colton Parsons went off for hooking, Acadia’s Geoff Schemitsch wired home his first of the season to put Acadia up 1-0. But the Tigers responded 2:30 later as Alex Cote converted from Mike Evelyn, beating Acadia goalie Brandon Glover, to tie things up.

But not to be denied, the Axemen came right back just :59 seconds later when Tyler Ferry put home a loose puck on a broken play with Alex Beaton and Mike Cazzola to put the home team in the lead for good. Brett Thompson added his second of the night at 7:44, from Cazzola to make it 3-1; And then at 15:02, with Colton Parsons back in the box for Dalhousie, the Axemen made the Tigers pay, as Thompson scored his second of the night, this time on the powerplay, to put his team up 4-1. A lead they took into the first intermission.

After an offensive fury in the first period with five goals scored, the second period saw neither team score, mostly due to the 15 saves Dalhousie goaltender Wendel Vye made to keep the Axemen off the board in the period. Axemen Scott Trask received a 5 minute major for kneeing late in the second period on a play that appeared to be a hip check, but the Tigers player was injured on the play which may have led to the decision on the penalty.Read more »

NickViditoAcadia Axemen fans, we need your help!

One of our biggest Axemen fans, Nick Vidito, has been in the hospital for the past few weeks dealing with horrible breathing issues and medical complications. He needs a venting machine to help him breathe and will be unable to leave the hospital without it. But here’s the catch: it costs $30,000.

Please read his story below, and we ask you to help a fellow Acadia hockey fan out and consider donating, and share this page so that others may consider donating as well.

Let’s bring help Nick home! Thank you.

Axemen win 4th in a Row

Mike Cazzola
Mike Cazzola, 1st star with 2 goals and an assist.

A slow start may have been an issue for the Acadia Axemen on Friday night against UPEI, but on Saturday night in Fredericton, they had their finger on the ignition early and exploded with 5 goals in their first 10 minutes of hockey.

That quick start led the way to a 9-5 victory over the St. Thomas Tommies, and gives the CIS #4 ranked Axemen a 11-3 record through 14 games on the season. The scoring barrage opened with Mike Cazzola scoring his first of two on the night, and his 8th of the season 4:38 into the first period, with Brett Thompson picking up the assist. Just 54 seconds later, 1st year forward Boston Leier converted on a play with Cazzola and Thompson to make it 2-0. Before that goal could be announced, the Axemen made it 3-rip as another 1st year forward, Sam Fioretti scored with the assist going to Tyler Ferry.

The Tommies desperate to stop the bleeding, responded 53 seconds later as Connor Sanvido beat Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves to cut the Acadia lead to 3-1.

But 1:07 later Boston Leier netted his second of the game on a play with Sam Fioretti; and 1:42 later, Remy Giftopoulos made it 5-1, with Zach Franko and Liam Heelis picking up helpers. Finally the scoring slowed, at least temporarily, although STU was able to add a second goal at 17:48 of the period as Stephen Janes scored to make it 5-2 after 1 period of play.

Acadia came out strong again in the second period, scoring 3 straight goals, with Cazzola picking up his 2nd on the night, 9th of the year, followed by Dylan Anderson getting his first of the season, in just his second game, after returning from a high ankle sprain that had sidelined him for the first 13 games of the season. Captain Liam Heelis scored his 8th on the season, from Franko and Giftopoulos to make it an 8-2 game. St. Thomas answered back with 2 late 2nd period goals, one from Felix Poulin, the second from Kody Orr, making it 8-4 after two periods of play.Read more »