Axemen with 7 different goal scorers in win

The Acadia Axemen kicked off their exhibition schedule with a 3-0 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers on Tuesday night in Halifax. The Axemen got off to a quick start, just :50 seconds into the game as Bailey Peach converted on the powerplay to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Later in the 1st period, on the Axemen’s 2nd powerplay of the night, they made it 2-0, as Cole Nagy took a pass from Bailey Peach and put it through the Dal netminder’s legs and into the net at 4:40. Brady Burns picked up the second assist on the goal.

The score remained 2-0 until late in the second period when Zack Jones streaked down the wing on a 2 on 1 for the Axemen before feathering a pass across the slot that Brendan Tomilson one timed home to give Acadia a 3-0 lead going into the dressing room for the 2nd intermission.

The flood gates opened on scoring in the third period starting with Zack Jones scoring as he stepped out of the penalty box, gathered a loose puck for a breakaway and made no mistake to make it a 4-0 game at 5:56.

Dal got on the board with a goal from Dawson Stairs at 8:24, but it was all Axemen from there on out. Luke Zazula scored on a spinning wrap around goal at 12:05, followed by an Ethan Ernst goal at 13:55, and finally Peyton Hoyt scored at 15:21 to make it 7-1 Acadia. That held up to be the final score on the night.

1st year Axemen netminder Thomas Couture was strong in net for the Axemen, stopping 28 of 29 shots, preserving the win. Charlie Desroches added 4 assists on the night for Acadia.

Acadia returns home to face the OWA’s Queen’s Gaels on Thursday night at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville. Get your tickets today at acadiau.universitytickets.com or at the Acadia Box Office.

Acadia kicks off the pre-season in Halifax against Dal on Tuesday

The Acadia Axemen kick off their exhibition games this week as they travel to Halifax on Tuesday to take on the Dal Tigers at the Halifax Forum at 7pm. The team then returns home for 3 pre-season games, starting with hosting the OUA conference’s Queen’s Gaels on Thursday, September 21st at 7pm, followed by a rematch against Dalhousie on September 27th, before rounding out the pre-season against the UPEI Panthers on September 29th. Regular season action gets underway on Friday, October 6th as Acadia hosts the StFX X-Men at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville.

The Axemen will look to put their players to the test in preparation for the yearly grueling battle of the ultra competitive AUS conference. Acadia’s lineup will include 8 new players to their roster, including 2 new goaltenders, who will be taking in their first USports action and adjusting to the speed of the game and size of the players in the league.

Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns is looking forward to the pre-season games for his team saying, “Everyone is very excited to get going. In university hockey the off-season is very long. We have liked what we have seen so far in terms of fitness levels and practices. Obviously, games are a whole different story. Creating excellent habits is crucial and we hope to see that right away. We look forward to evaluating our players individually and where we are at as a team and we intend on getting a good look at everyone, where we have four exhibition games.”

Annapolis Valley residents will recognize a couple names of the new players joining the Axemen, as Port Williams’ Brady Burns, and Kentville’s Cam Whynot, join second year forward Bailey Peach of Falmouth on the team. Enfield’s Liam Kidney and Hammonds Plains’ Morgan Nauss round out the other Nova Scotians suiting up for Acadia.

Look for a full season preview of the Axemen hockey team coming soon!

Get your first look at the 2023-24 Axemen in these preseason games at the Andrew H. McCain Arena by purchasing your tickets today at the Acadia Box Office or online at acadiau.universitytickets.com

Follow along with @axemenhockey on social media platforms, including live in-game updates on Twitter/X.

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 https://harvestwealth.ca/

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 acadiau.universitytickets.com

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 acadiau.universitytickets.com

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 acadiau.universitytickets.com

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 acadiau.universitytickets.com