Harper & Maaskant Return with Unfinished Business

Offensive Prowess, Grit & Leadership

The Acadia Axemen will be hosting the USports men’s hockey University Cup this March in Halifax, and their lineup received a major bolster with the news of the return of defenceman Liam Maaskant and forward Stephen Harper.

Both players graduated this past April, but will be returning to Acadia University in September, looking to complete some unfinished business, in their quest to take home the University Cup this spring.

Harper, who played his junior career in the OHL has been an offensive force in his 3 years with the Axemen, scoring 101 points in 86 games, plus 16 points in 16 AUS/USports playoff games. The Hamilton Ontario native led the AUS in scoring in 2017-18 with 46 points in 30 games. Stephen was named to the AUS All-Rookie Team in 2016-17, and was named AUS First Team All-Star & 2nd Team U Sports All Canadian in 2017-18.

Harper’s final status with Acadia for the upcoming season will depend on the results of attending the Buffalo Sabres camp in September.

Coach Darren Burns shared the team’s excitement saying, “We are very excited about Stephen’s decision to return to Acadia. He is a premier player in USports hockey and obviously he will play a key part in a national championship year for us. We feel he will be an excellent leader on and off the ice. He is returning to the Buffalo Sabres camp in September and we know this will be pivotal step in earning a pro contract.”

Meanwhile, Maaskant, who also played in the OHL through junior, and served as the Axemen captain last season, will return and likely where the ‘C’ again this upcoming season. In 104 career regular season USports games over his 4 years with the Axemen, Liam notched 26 points while posting 362 penalty minutes, and 3 playoff points in 21 AUS/USports playoff games. Maaskant will anchor the defensive corps once again for the Axemen; the 6’4 215lbs blueliner is know for making the other team keep their head on a swivel through the neutral zone or pay the price on the receiving end of a thunderous body check.

On Maaskant’s return, Coach Burns added, “We are very excited to have Liam returning this year. He is an incredible leader here at Acadia, and his leadership will be crucial this season. He has gotten better every season he has played at Acadia and is an outstanding shut down defender who is one of the toughest players to play against in our league. There is no question, we need what he brings to the rink everyday in our lineup.”

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McFarland returns home as Maple Leafs Assistant Coach

Acadia alumnus named Toronto assistant coach

Photo credit Nick Brancaccio

The Toronto Maples Leafs announced the hiring of Acadia Axemen alumnus Paul McFarland as their new assistant coach this week. McFarland, who played for the Axemen from 2006-2010, will join Mike Babcock’s coaching staff in Leafs country, replacing D.J. Smith who moved on from Toronto to take on the head coaching role with the Ottawa Senators.

McFarland was last year’s special guest speaker at the 20th Acadia Hockey Celebrity Dinner, after he had finished his first season behind the bench with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. A season that saw the Panthers miss the NHL playoffs by just one point. After a second season, alongside head coach Bob Boughner, Panthers management decided to take a different direction and brought in Joel Quenneville as the new head coach, making McFarland a coveted free agent to join the coaching staff of many professional hockey teams.

McFarland grew up in Richmond Hill, a part of the Greater Toronto Area, and went on to play four seasons of major junior hockey, with the Kitchener Rangers and the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. In his first season with Kitchener in 02-03, the Rangers won the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup. Paul has always been known for his leadership skills and work ethic, serving as the captain of the Windsor Spitfires in the final year of his OHL career. Read more ›

Axemen add Pettersson to coaching staff

Acadia alumnus back with hockey Axemen

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Acadia University and Acadia men’s hockey head coach Darren Burns announced today that former Axeman Daniel Pettersson will join the team’s coaching staff this fall.

“We are extremely excited to add Dan to our coaching staff. He is a very hard-working individual and is very passionate about the game of hockey. He has an intelligent hockey mind and it’s an excellent time to add him to our staff as we head into hosting a U SPORTS National Championship. ‎Anytime you have a resource like this in your community and he’s a former Axemen, it’s a perfect fit,” noted Burns.

Pettersson played his junior hockey career from 2007-2011 with the QMJHL Moncton Wildcats and then jumped to the professional ranks from 2011-2014 in Sweden for two seasons and one season in France.

In 2014, Pettersson joined the Axemen and remained for three seasons, playing 44 games in two seasons and capturing a U SPORTS bronze medal in his final senior year in 2017. Pettersson participated in the 2017 FISU Games with Team Sweden in Kazakhstan and was the team’s top scorer in the International university championship tournament with 10 points in five games.

Pettersson’s coaching background began in the 2015-2016 season with the Acadia Minor Hockey Association Atom AA team as an assistant coach and the Peewee AAA team in 2016-17.  In the 2017-2018 season, Pettersson became an assistant coach with the Midget AAA Valley Wildcats assistant and hasn’t looked back in the coaching profession. With more than 10 years of experience in skill development and hockey school Instruction, Pettersson spent two years as a skills/development coordinator in Sweden. Read more ›

2019 Summer Hockey Camps Announced

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Axemen & Wildcats team up for Hockey Camps

Major Midget & Major Bantam Conditioning & Skills Development Camps scheduled

The Acadia Axemen and Valley Wildcats organization are pleased to announce that together, they will be running a major midget and major bantam conditioning and skills development camp at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville this summer.

Acadia Axemen Head Coach Darren Burns expressed excitement for the upcoming camps, “Both programs are extremely excited to work together to help create the best development opportunities for the kids in the valley. Axemen coach Kris MacDonald and I see this as an excellent opportunity and only the tip of the ice berg for the kids in the valley. Both of our staffs working together year-round can only help in player development and opportunities ‎for hockey players throughout the Annapolis Valley.”

While Valley Wildcats new bench boss, Brandon Benedict added, “This is very exciting. Growing up in the Valley I know how much talent and potential there is. Being a former Axemen and now coach and director of hockey operations for the Valley Wildcats, I realize how important the synergy is between our two programs, it can only be a positive for our young hockey players.” Read more ›

Former NHL GM Brian Burke headlines Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner

21st Annual Acadia Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner

When: Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Where: Andrew H. McCain Arena, Wolfville

 

Darren Burns, head coach of the Acadia University men’s hockey team, announced April 15, 2019 that Brian Burke, Sportsnet hockey analyst and former NHL general manager, will headline this year’s Acadia Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner in June.

 

Prior to joining Sportsnet in 2018, Burke served as President of Hockey Operations of the Calgary Flames, President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks (winning the Stanley Cup in 2007), Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers. Burke was also General Manager for the United States national men’s hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics and is a member of Rugby Canada’s board of directors.

 

Noted for his brash personality, outspokenness, extensive vocabulary and unwillingness to wear a tie, Burke is one of the most insightful, informative and entertaining figures in the hockey world.

 

Born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised in Edina, Minnesota, in a family of 10 children, Burke graduated from Providence College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. While attending Providence, he played for the Friars Division I hockey team where, during his senior year, he served as captain.

 

In 1976-77, Burke played seven games with the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League (AHL). He played one full year in the AHL with the Maine Mariners, who won the Calder Cup championship. Burke retired after the 1977-78 season and attended Harvard Law School, where he graduated with a Juris Doctorin 1981.
“We’re so excited to have Mr. Burke headline this year’s dinner,” Burns said. “Mr. Burke has had a Hall-of-Fame worthy career as a hockey executive and is well on his way to repeating that success in television. Our guests will be very entertained.”
The 21st Acadia Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner takes place Wednesday, June 26th at the Andrew H. McCain Arena in Wolfville. Since starting in 1998, the event has raised close to $425,000 in support of the men’s varsity hockey program at Acadia. Tickets and corporate tables are available to purchase online. To register, please click here.

 

For more information on the Celebrity Dinner event, contact Len Hawley, Chairperson, at (902) 585-1044 or e-mail: len.hawley@acadiau.ca. More special guests for the dinner to be released in the upcoming weeks.

Axemen Hockey – After School Spring Camps Announced

Axemen eliminated in quarterfinals with 4-1 game three loss to X

Corneil with powerplay goal for Acadia

ANTIGONISH, NS – The StFX X-Men have advanced to the Subway AUS semifinal series with a 4-1 victory over the Acadia Axemen Sunday night in front of a sold out crowd of over 1800 at the Charles V. Keating Centre. 

Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) scored the game winner midway through the second period and Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) was a brick wall in the StFX net, turning aside 41 pucks. 

After the X-Men lost a tough overtime game in Wolfville on Friday night, they were able to reset and take the series-deciding game.  

After going 0-for-7 on the man advantage in Game 2, the X-Men turned things around and scored on their second power play opportunity of the game as veteran fifth year forward Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) tallied at 11:40 to give StFX a 1-0 lead. 

Matt Needham (Pentincton, BC) fed the puck to a streaking Stevens in the slot and he ripped one up high under the cross bar past Logan Flodell (Regina, SK).  

The one goal held up after 20 minutes as StFX held a slight 12-10 shot advantage in the opening frame. 

The Axemen tied it up just over five minutes into the second period at the tail end of a power play. Marchand made the initial pad save off a Garrett McFadden (Kincardine, ON) shot from the point but the rebound came right to the stick of Johnny Corneil (Lindsay, ON) who quickly deposited it into the StFX net. 

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