Acadia receives a commitment from OHL offensive blueliner
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 https://acadiau.universitytickets.com/
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 acadiau.universitytickets.com
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 acadiau.universitytickets.com! Get yours today and join in for the excitement for the 2023-24 season.
Atlantic Hockey Group & Axemen Hockey run Spring programs in Wolfville for over 15 years
The Atlantic Hockey Group and Axemen Hockey program are in the midst of completing another spring season in a partnership that was created over 15 years ago and continues to run stronger than ever.
“It’s been very special to say the least,” says Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns. “To watch this grow over the years and see how it has been such a positive partnership is tremendous.”
The idea for the local program came about when a few local families started to join spring hockey teams in Halifax, as it was the closest team in the Atlantic Hockey Group program.
“I had a parent in our local minor hockey system say, wouldn’t it be great if we could run something like this out of Acadia and I walked away from the conversation, saying why don’t we run something like this out of Acadia?” The newly formed Acadia Minor Hockey Association was growing quickly and this program took off in a flash. “It basically came down to making sure our kids in the Annapolis Valley have the same opportunities that kids have all over the country,” Burns said.
Thousands of people come to the Andrew H. McCain Arena over the course of the spring, as the rink is active every evening with practices, along with games on the weekends. “The benefits of this program branch out in so many different areas. First and foremost, it gives the kids an affordable option to play six to eight more weeks of hockey. Secondly, Valley families save hundreds of dollars because they avoid the costs of travelling and practice here in Wolfville. This allows kids the opportunity to not be in a vehicle as much, spend more time at home, freeing up time for playing other sports which is important. It gives kids the opportunity to make new friends and develop their skills, but more importantly develop and build their relationships. For coaches, it is an opportunity for development for them as well. It’s a program we are very proud of; Charlie Bourgeois and the Atlantic Hockey Group are first class, and their product is affordable. When you partner with a group like this you feel very good about what you are doing. He is an excellent hockey person and a great leader in the community.”
“This program is an excellent eye opener for so many to see what Acadia University is about as well,” Axemen Associate Coach Kris MacDonald says, “It’s pretty neat, as I am fortunate enough to work in the School of Kinesiology and numerous times, I’ve had a student say that they first came to Acadia when they played spring hockey here many years ago.
I personally love being at the rink or downtown on the weekends seeing all the energy. People get to see what Acadia and the town of Wolfville have to offer. The building is open during the day, so university students can play shinny hockey, there are public skates that continue, and parent-tot skates. Any time the arena and building can stay open everyone wins.”
“We are very fortunate to have this partnership with Atlantic Hockey Group”, added MacDonald, “we have been so closely intertwined with our community for decades; with so many local businesses supporting our celebrity hockey dinners, golf tournaments, sending their children to our hockey camps, and consistently being Axemen hockey season ticket holders; so it’s nice to see our local businesses benefit when people are in the Valley for our events, putting money back into the Valley economy, eating at their eateries and coffee shops, people from outside the Valley come to shop here all the time. It is cyclical for sure, it’s an opportunity for businesses to get something in return for their support of Acadia Axemen hockey and it’s no secret that the corporate sector of the Annapolis Valley is heavily relied upon by our program.”
The spring hockey programs also provide spin off jobs at the arena where many local youths continue to find employment by officiating the games and working the time clock, so it’s a great bonus for them as well.
Coach Burns concluded saying, “the Atlantic Hockey Group has been a long-established business and it benefits so many, it’s been around for a long time just like the Axemen Hockey program, so it’s easy to understand why we have strong synergy together.
At the end of the day, it checks so many positive boxes; our youth get more physical activity, Wolfville and Valley businesses benefit, and it exposes so many to our exceptional institution at Acadia University. Our hockey camps and our partnership with Atlantic Hockey Group is a big piece of our overall hockey program and we are very proud of what we’ve built and look forward to many more years creating opportunities and great experiences.”
The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Weyburn, Saskatchewan’s Ethan Ernst to the hockey program this fall.
The 5’11” forward is a WHL alumnus of 5 years, spending his first three seasons with the Kelowna Rockets, which included the pandemic season in 2020-21. He then moved on to the Tri-City Americans for his last 2 years where he had 24 points in 61 games in 2021-22 and a breakout offensive year last season with 63 points, including 32 goals in just 62 games; earning him the nod as the Tri-City Americans Offensive Player of the Year on the season. For his WHL career he played in 245 regular season games, notching 112 points.
Ernst decided on Acadia saying, “When Acadia reached out to me late in the season, I knew it was one of the top schools for me because of both the hockey and the education. There was also a bit of a connection having played hockey previously with Brady Burns, so I knew a little bit about the school already. Once I got the opportunity to see the university and some of the guys showed me around the community, I knew it would be a great fit for me.”
Prior to his time in the WHL, Ethan won the Telus Cup Gold Medal with the Notre Dame Hounds U18 AAA in 2017-18.
He describes himself on the ice as “an offensive player who sees the ice well and can make plays; and this past season I found a scoring touch, which I’m hoping I can bring to this team next year.”
Coach Burns is very happy with the addition of Ernst saying, “We are very excited about adding Ethan to our team. We have followed him since his bantam season with the Notre Dame Hounds in Saskatchewan. Our familiarity with him as a person and a player makes this a perfect fit. We know his commitment as a player who loves the game. His integrity and work ethic growing up in Saskatchewan is something we value. He knows hard work and what is needed for a program to succeed. On the ice, his ability to shoot and create plays will translate very well in the AUS. He showed this past season that he will be a huge addition to our powerplay. His offensive instincts will be a huge asset for our program, and we look forward to helping him reach his goals here at Acadia.”
Ernst joins goaltender Thomas Couture as the announced recruits thus far for the Axemen for the upcoming season. Stay tuned for more announcements of new players committing to Acadia in the coming weeks!
A look back at the former Canadiens Captain’s career
Our Acadia Hockey Celebrity Dinner on June 22nd will feature Hockey Hall of Famer, Guy Carbonneau. A legend in the 80’s and 90’s for his defensive prowess, we wanted to look back on his career and accolades. To purchase your ticket(s), visit the Acadia Box office or online at AcadiaU.UniversityTickets.com!
A three-time Stanley Cup champion, for two decades, Guy Carbonneau reinvented himself from a high-scoring junior into one of the National Hockey League’s premier defensive forwards of his era.
Carbonneau was born March 18, 1960. He was a scoring sensation during his four seasons of junior, playing with the Chicoutimi Saugeneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). By his third season, in 1978-79, he had scored 62 times and contributed 141 points. The following season, he earned a spot on the QMJHL Second All-Star Team after scoring 72 goals and 182 points. That season, he also served just six minutes in penalties. Carbonneau’s number 21 was later retired by the Chicoutimi franchise.
Curiously, Carbonneau was not chosen by an NHL team in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft in 1979 after collecting 435 regular points in four QMJHL seasons. Instead, he was drafted in the second round, 44th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. Carbonneau was quickly instructed that if he was going to make hockey a career, he had to learn to play in both ends of the rink. He spent two seasons with the American Hockey League affiliate, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, although he did get into two NHL games with the parent Canadiens during the 1980-81 season. He made his fulltime NHL debut during the 1982-83 season.
Guy won the Frank J. Selke Trophy three times in his career (Doug MacLellan/HHOF).
Carbonneau had learned his lessons well. Although he had been an offensive threat every time he stepped onto the ice in junior, his strong defensive work really established him as an NHL star. He helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in 1986, Guy’s first championship. His diligent work as a defensive forward drew the accolades of the Canadiens faithful, who chanted, “Guy! Guy!” every time he was on the ice. In 1987-88, Carbonneau earned the first of his three Frank Selke Memorial Trophies as the league’s top defensive forward. He earned a second consecutive Selke Trophy in 1988-89. By 1989-90, he was named captain of the Montreal Canadiens.
A third Selke Trophy came Carbonneau’s way following the 1991-92 season. In the spring of 1993, newly appointed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman handed the Stanley Cup to Guy Carbonneau after his Montreal Canadiens toppled the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.
Guy Carbonneau receives the Stanley Cup from Gary Bettman following game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in 1993 (Paul Bereswill/HHOF).
Don’t be deceived – while Carbonneau excelled in a defensive role, he hadn’t lost the hands that made him a scoring star in junior. In ten of his 12 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Carbonneau scored 15 or more goals. He enjoyed a career-best 26 goals in 1988-89 while his career-best point total of 57 was collected during the 1984-85 season.
Carbonneau wore the Montreal Canadiens jersey for 12 of his 19 NHL seasons (Doug MacLellan/HHOF).
After four seasons serving as captain of the Canadiens, prior to the 1994-95 season, Carbonneau was dealt to the St. Louis Blues, but it was his only season in Missouri. Before the following season, he was traded to the Dallas Stars where Guy spent the final five seasons of his NHL career. The Stars won and finished first overall in back-to-back seasons (1997-98 and 1998-99), earning the Presidents’ Trophy. In 1999, Carbonneau was part of a third Stanley Cup championship when the Stars won that franchise’s first championship. They almost made it a second, going to the Stanley Cup Final again in 1999-2000, but Dallas was defeated by the New Jersey Devils this time. Guy Carbonneau concluded his 18-season playing career following the 1999-2000 season, having played 1,318 regular season NHL games and scoring 260 goals and adding 403 assists for 663 points. In playoff action, Carbonneau scored 38 goals and 55 assists for 93 points in 234 post-season contests.
While the NHL had recognized Guy Carbonneau’s defensive prowess three times as winner of the Frank J. Selke Memorial Trophy, in 2005, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League created the Guy Carbonneau Trophy (Trophee Guy Carbonneau) to be awarded annually to the QMJHL player judged to be the best defensive forward.
Following his playing career, Guy was also a coach and assistant coach with Montreal from 2006 to 2009. Carbonneau was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on the 18th of November 2019. He is now a successful TV commentator and analyst.
1318 games played in the NHL
663 points, including 260 goals
Two-time winner of the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens (1986,1993)
One-time winner of the Stanley Cup with the Stars (1999)
Winner of the Frank-Selke Trophy in 1988, 1989 and 1992
Coach Burns looks forward to the Axemen off-season initiatives
2022-23 was the year we were finally back to some sense of normalcy in AUS men’s hockey, after the Acadia hosted University Cup was cancelled before the Axemen played a game in March of 2020, a cancelled 2020-21 season, and a fragmented season in 2021-22, it was finally back to business as usual this season.
The Axemen welcomed 9 new faces into the lineup in September as they looked to lay the building blocks for the program’s future. Their first half of the season saw some growing pains as they entered the holiday break going 5-10-2-1, and saw the team begin to gel, as many of the players began to get acclimated to the speed and compete level of the AUS.
Acadia head coach Darren Burns said this about his team’s growth, “We were extremely happy with our team’s progress over the season. In early September we made our team very aware that we were not going to use age as an excuse. We felt this was an extremely important recruiting year for our program and it was crucial that we brought in players who loved the game and were committed to do what our program asks of them. It’s not a secret, if you are going to be competitive as an individual and team in AUS hockey, you better compete and love the game; it’s the only way you have any chance of succeeding especially if you are a young team. We felt this group of players demonstrated this from day one.”
The Axemen began to turn a corner in the second half, as they earned 12 points, going 6-6 not only making the playoffs, but moving into 5th place in the standings by passing the Aigles Bleus in the final game of the regular season. The Axemen were slotted to play the StFX X-Men in the 1st round of the playoffs, in a best of 3 series. The X-Men were a team, that by and large, were considered a potential team to make it to the UCup tournament this season, and boasted the top 3 regular season scorers in the conference. The underdog Axemen knocked off the X-Men in 2 straight games to win the series and move on to the 2nd round. In the 2nd round, they faced the Saint Mary’s Huskies who finished 2nd in the AUS, and were ranked in the USports top 10 in the country throughout the year. After a decisive loss in the 1st game, Acadia gave SMU all they could handle in the next 3 games, including a 2-1 double overtime win in Wolfville for the Axemen, to save off elimination in game 3, before finally bowing out to the Huskies in a hard fought game 4.
We asked Coach Burns about the team’s 2nd half and the importance of the team’s playoff compete level, he said, “The second half success and playoffs helped, in that it showed the players that hard work and commitment and belief in a plan and structure will bring positive results. We don’t want winning one round in the playoffs to be our standard. Some folks questioned if we would even make the playoffs. Our finish and performance in the playoffs gave our returning players a taste of what it takes to succeed in this league. There is no question we feel they had a successful season. We compete in a tremendous conference, and it’s well documented that AUS hockey creates opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the country every night, so it tests you every night.”
With the 2022-23 season now in the rear-view mirror, the attention shifts to the Axemen off-season and what needs to be done to ensure the team and the hockey program are ready to continue to build for success in the 2023-24 season and beyond.
Coach Burns expressed his desire to continue to build the program for the future saying, “Moving forward the main focus for our staff is generating more revenue, which will enhance our on-ice product. To be a national contender you need to be able to compete financially. The landscape has changed and even though the AUS always produces many of the top teams in the country, you are seeing many other schools raising their levels and hockey is as competitive as it’s ever been. We have been fortunate here in the Annapolis Valley, this is the best place to play university hockey in the country. We have a great facility and a very loyal fan base and a following like no other. We want to make sure our players have everything they need to win and develop to further their careers. Our university is extremely supportive of our team. It will be crucial for us to execute our different fundraising endeavors to help ensure we can have a top-quality program. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be releasing these initiatives and we look forward to making these successful with the support of our community, alumni, and fans. It’s no secret money is crucial not only to attract the best players in the country, but to provide the best student athlete experience. This is a must.”
Burns added, “On ice, we are very fortunate that we have already secured a topflight goalie in Thomas Couture and our focus will be in recruiting players who have speed and can create offence. We have many key building blocks in place to have a very strong team. It’s no secret we struggled to score this year, and this is our ongoing focus for our recruiting process. It was great to see a reinvigorated following in the arena this year after a couple of fragmented seasons in our league due to the pandemic. I don’t believe I have ever been as excited about the future for this program. There’s a lot of work to do and it starts with our coaching staff.”
Stay tuned for exciting news about off-season events and initiatives, as well as recruiting announcements in the coming weeks! The future is looking bright for the Axemen hockey program and we’re excited to have you onboard for the journey! #GoAcadiaGo