Liam Heelis to Attend Florida Panthers Prospect Camp

Most Outstanding Player Liam Heelis Blaine Favel

Acadia Axemen captain Liam Heelis will be taking his show on the road later this week; all the way to Florida and Tennessee! Liam, the reigning CIS Men’s Hockey MVP, will take part in the NHL’s Florida Panthers prospect camp from Sept 11-16.

The 23 year old, Heelis will join 2 goalies, eight defenseman and 14 other forwards. Included in those prospects is last year’s first overall pick in the NHL entry draft, Aaron Ekblad, who was also a junior teammate of current Axemen defenceman Chris Buonomo with the Barrie Colts of the OHL.

The prospect camp will be composed of a day of medical and physical testing, an on ice practice in Florida, followed by a round robin tournament in Nashville, Tennessee between 4 teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators & the Florida Panthers.

Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns expressed his excitement for Heelis saying, “We are very excited for Liam that he has been invited back to Florida’s camp. We believe he continues to get better as a player and this opportunity will be another positive step in his goal of playing in the NHL. He has continued to work hard and it will be good for him to get this experience heading into our season.”

Also on the prospect roster for the Panthers is Saint Mary’s Huskies forward Stephen MacAuley, UNB defenceman Keevan Cutting, former Halifax Moosehead Mackenzie Weegar, and Glace Bay native Logan Shaw, who played last season with San Antonio of the AHL.Read more »

Training Camp is Here

Originally posted on 2014-08-28

coach_youngThe first in a series of blogs by coach Travis Young.

Hello Lumberjack fans, and welcome to another exciting season of MHL action.  Training camp is less than a week away, and I know I speak for everyone in the organization when I say that we are very excited to see what the 2014-2015 season brings.  For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Travis Young and I have been the Head Coach of your Lumberjacks since January of 2014.

It has been a very busy off-season for the organization, highlighted by an exciting draft in Summerside where many future Lumberjacks were selected.  We look forward to seeing many of these draft picks, along with a very hungry group of returning players and some exciting free agents, compete at our training camp.

Personally, I am looking forward to my first full season behind the Jacks bench.  The last 6 weeks of the 2013-2014 season provided me with a wonderful opportunity to evaluate our team and address some areas of weakness.  I thought that as a group we made great strides, and competed extremely hard during a difficult part of the season.  The goal now, is to bring that mindset into training camp and carry it over throughout the upcoming season.  In speaking with both our returning players and incoming prospects, I know they have put the work in during the summer and are all focused on doing whatever it takes to bring a successful season to the South Shore.  Read more »

Campbellton Tigers Jr A Coach returning to familiar territory

Story by Will MacLaren – posted originally on 2014-08-27

troy_ryanThe bench boss of the Campbellton Tigers has been named an assistant coach for Team Canada East at the 2014 World Jr.A Challenge. This year’s tournament takes place from Dec.14-20 in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

Ryan, the 42 year old Halifax native, will be making his fifth appearance as assistant in the tournament, previous serving in the same role from 2006-2009. As well, the long time MHL and CIS coach and executive served as the Canada East’s General Manager in 2010.

Despite being there before, the chance to participate in the event is one that never gets old for Ryan.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to work with Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League it is a privilege and honour,” he said. “I am looking forward to representing the Campbellton Tigers and the Maritime Hockey League on an International stage. I would like to thank the selection committee, the Maritime hockey league, and the Campbellton Tigers organization for helping provide this opportunity.”

Ryan has more than a decade of coaching experience in the MHL and university hockey, winning MHL Coach of the Year and Hockey Nova Scotia Coach of the Year in 2007-08, and leading the Pictou County Crushers to an appearance at the RBC Cup in 2008.

In addition to Ryan, Team Canada East will feature head coach Marty Abrams (Wellington Dukes – OJHL) and assistants Mark Grady (Smith Falls – CCHL) and Marc Lafleur (Kirkland Lake – NOJHL). The staff is hoping to help Team Canada East rebound from a disappointing sixth place finish at the 2013 tournament in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.Read more »

Burns Entering his 14th Season at the Helm of the Axemen

story courtesy of by Cameron Davidson


Entering into his 14th season at the helm of the Axemen Hockey squad, head coach Darren Burns has led the Axemen to 10 straight playoff appearances, and to two AUS (Atlantic University Sport) Championships, one in 2005/06 and another this past season. Burns has been at Acadia since 1990, though was an assistant coach elsewhere for four years while living in the Annapolis Valley. Burns also played his university hockey as an Axemen from 1990-1995, winning a CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) National Championship in 1992-93. Burns added another National Championship as an assistant coach with the Axemen in 1995-96.

Burns, now age 44, was initially drawn to Acadia as a player to pursue a teaching career. “I wanted to go where hockey was still important and was a big part of the community and school. A place that followed hockey like a junior team, and Acadia definitely had that, and still does,” he said.

Last year’s AUS Championship was massive for both Axemen Hockey and the amazing local fans. “It was important for the program to win the AUS Championship for sure. It was a great experience. It is something that we cannot take for granted and we need to strive for higher achievements. The thing that meant the most to me was seeing the sense of accomplishment for the players and seeing how excited the community was. Anytime something good happens for Acadia and the surrounding area, I am happy.”

With respect to the diehard Axemen Hockey fan base, Burns adds, “It is vital for our program to have the support it does. There is no hockey team in the CIS that gets the support our players and team does. It’s not even describable how important it is. It’s very motivating for me as a coach and for the players.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Burns talked about what the recruiting front was coming into this year. “Our recruiting for this season is like every other; our players need to be great people who realize they are leaders on campus and in the community and want to strive for excellence.” As for what fans should expect to see in 2014/15, “I would expect fans are going to see a committed team who skates well, moves the puck well, and does not get outworked. This is an expectation of our program. [The AUS] will be a very tough league this year.”

Read more »

Moyer playing for Karlskrona in Sweden

RussMoyerAcadia Alumnus Russ Moyer is back across the pond for another year of hockey. This season Russ will be suiting up for Karlskrona HK of the Allsvenskan hockey league in Sweden. The Allsvenskan league is the second highest level of hockey in Sweden and consists of 14 teams playing a 52 game regular season.

The former Acadia University defenceman, known for his offensive prowess, was an Axemen from 2003-2007, winning an AUS championship with the Axemen in 2006. Following his time with Acadia, Moyer played in the IHL, AHL, and CHL with North American teams before moving overseas to play in Denmark and in the Swedish Division 1 league, before playing last season in the Allsvenskan with current rival Oskarshamn.

Here is an interview Russ did this month after a preseason game.

Good luck on the upcoming season Russ!

Owens gets invitation from IceCaps

John Browne

Published on August 12, 2014 in Newfoundland’s paper The Telegram

St. John’s native and AUS all-star will attend AHL team’s training camp

Chris Owens is ready for the next step in his hockey career. The 24-year-old St. John’s native who helped the Acadia Axemen win the AUS championship in his final year of university hockey, has been invited to the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps training camp, scheduled for Sept. 28-29 at Mile One Centre.

Defenceman Chris Owens, shown playing with the Acadia University Axemen last season, has received an invitation to attend the training camp of the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps next month. © Photo by Peter Oleskevich/Acadia University
Defenceman Chris Owens, shown playing with the Acadia University Axemen last season, has received an invitation to attend the training camp of the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps next month.
© Photo by Peter Oleskevich/Acadia University

“I’m looking forward to it,” Owens said Monday. “I grew up here, so it’s cool to get a shot with a professional team at home.”

Owens said top-notch conditioning is a priority with him and he’s been working out all summer to be in the best shape possible.

“You need to be ready to compete,” said the 5-10, 190 pound defenceman who was a first-team conference all-star last season

Busy times

He’s also helping out at four Newfoundland and Labrador hockey schools, including the Danny Cleary Hockey School at Jack Byrne Arena and the Atlantic Ice Warriors Hockey School in Clarenville, both running this month.

Owens says he brings “a pretty good offensive upside and strong defensive game” to the table for those teams interested in his services.

“I’m smart with the puck and I make a pretty good first pass,” he added.

Owens had 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 28 games with the Axemen last season and averaged almost a point per game in his four years at Acadia with 104 points (30 goals, 74 assists) in 109 games.Read more »

Graduated Pats Look Toward New Opportunities

This is an outtake from an article, for the complete article, please visit

By Daniel Fink –

Boston Leier
Axemen Recruit Boston Leier

Regina, Saskatchewan – As the Regina Pats move ever closer to the 2014-15 season, three members of last year’s squad look to take the next steps in their hockey careers.  Dyson Stevenson, Boston Leier and Jesse Zgraggen were the Pats’ three overage players in the 2013-14 season.  All three continue their hockey careers in the upcoming year, all following different paths.  Stevenson plays his first season of professional hockey with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, Leier heads to Acadia University to suit up for the Axemen in the CIS and Zgraggen ventures across the Atlantic to play for Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss Elite League.

For Boston Leier, the decision to head east and play for Acadia while attending school came from a desire to find new challenges and a different environment.

“Me and a friend of mine went on a recruiting trip out there and it’s a pretty exciting place,” said Leier.  “Everyone there is a pretty tight knit family and it just seemed like the kind of place I wanted to be.  I really wanted to experience something different.  It’s not every day something like that comes up and I wanted to take advantage of it while I could.”

Of course it didn’t hurt that Leier’s coach for the 2013-14 season, Malcolm Cameron, is an alumni of the Axemen.

“Malcolm talked about (Acadia) very highly and he was a good influence on (choosing Acadia) too.  Obviously I made my own decisions though.  I know the athletic director out there pretty well, he’s a good family friend of ours.  He said he thought it was a very good fit for me.”

As with anything in life, moving to a new stage of a hockey career presents new challenges.  All three players, face different hurdles to overcome on and off the ice with their new teams and leagues.Read more »

Acadia Hockey & Atlantic Hockey Group Partner to Present Specialized Camp

The participants of the POE Under 14 specialized Acadia hockey camp in partnership with the Atlantic Hockey Group
The participants of the POE Under 14 specialized Acadia hockey camp in partnership with the Atlantic Hockey Group

This past weekend, August 8-10th, the Acadia University Axemen men’s hockey team partnered with the Atlantic Hockey Group to present a specialized POE Prep Hockey Camp, for the Under 14, 2002 birth dates at the Acadia Arena in Wolfville.

The weekend was a great success with over 25 participants learning from Axemen coaches, players, and Atlantic Hockey Group instructors. The kids had the opportunity to experience the expertise of Acadia University’s world class Kinesiology department as well as the strength and conditioning leadership of  Elliott Richardson. Goaltenders had specialized learning from Axemen Assistant Coach, & former QMJHL and Acadia goalie Michael Chiasson.

Acadia Axemen Coach Darren Burns had the following to say about the camp, “It was a tremendous weekend of hockey and a great experience for the kids. It was not an easy weekend as the kids had three practices and four games in three days.”

The newly formed partnership with the Atlantic Hockey Group allows the Acadia hockey camp program to utilize the Atlantic Group’s professionalism, experienced and well respected coaches along with Acadia’s university players to bring in the top aspiring players in Atlantic Canada at this age level.

Burns concluded, “It is important on so many levels for kids in our Atlantic region to play with and against each other. It will only help them improve their game. It was a great success and we will begin planning futures events like this one right away.”

Read more »

Burbidge, Pettet named to NS Hockey U18 team

The Acadia Axemen hockey program would like to wish our congratulations to Maggie Burbidge of Falmouth, who has been named to the Under 18 Nova Scotia Female Hockey team for 2014-15.

Maggie Burbidge
Maggie Burbidge

Maggie, who is currently just 13 years old until mid-January, has played her minor hockey with the Acadia Axemen minor hockey program. She was named to the team in a posted letter from the Hockey Nova Scotia’s High Performance Development Committee on the Hockey Nova Scotia website.

You can read the full post here:

Last season, Burbidge was a member of the Acadia Peewee AAA hockey team, and attended school at Newbridge Academy in Lower Sackville, where she was enrolled in the advanced hockey program.

Topping the year off, Maggie was selected to the East Coast Selects Q team, composed of girls from the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and the eastern U.S., from Maine to New York State, competing in the World Selects Invitational tournament in Finland. Maggie is the daughter of Jeff & Alana Burbidge.

Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns had the following to say, “It has been an absolute pleasure to watch what Maggie has done so far in her young career. She is a tremendous role model for the players in the valley on, and off the ice.”

Burns who coached Burbidge last year with her Peewee AAA team added, “We are extremely proud of her accomplishments and Acadia Hockey looks forward to following her for years to come.”

Brette Pettet
Brette Pettet

Also named to the team was Kentville native Brette Pettet, who finished last season on the Team Atlantic Canada under 18 team, while playing the rest of the season with Minnesota Prep School, Shattuck St. Mary’s. Brette is just 15 years of age, and was a big part of Shattuck St. Mary’s U.S. national U-16 Tier 1 girls’ hockey championship win in 2013. At the time, she was the only Grade 8 student on a team made up mostly of Grade 9 to 11s.

Congratulations to both Maggie and Brette on this outstanding achievement.