1955-56 Men’s Rugby Team

The 1955 rugby season was destined to be an historic one for the Axemen as the subsequent fall Canadian Football was to replace the longtime popular sport. On the field of action during the fall months of that ’55-’56 academic year, the Fred Kelly-guided footballers showed plenty of skill and indomitable spirits as they overcame stiff opposition and inclement weather conditions to capture the Tri-Province Intercollegiate championship.

The varsity squad opened the season with an 8-0 victory over a Windsor-based squad as Don MacVicar and Charlie Brown registered tries. Intercollegiate conference play opened for the Axemen with a 31-0 victory over the Nova Scotia Technical College as Don MacVicar accumulated a total of nineteen points and Mel Campbell, Bill Hills and Norman (Kemp) Atkins were responsible for the rest of the scoring.

In an 8-4 triumph over Saint Dunstan’s University, Ian Fraser, Campbell and MacVicar were the prominent performers. In their third encounter in Conference play, the Axemen again blasted Nova Scotia Tech, registering a 31-2 victory as MacVicar recorded seventeen points. In bowing to Saint Dunstan’s 5-4, in the loop’s final regularly scheduled game, MacVicar and Clarence Olsen were prominent figures for the Axemen while Rodney MacInnis, whose last-minute penalty kick won the game for the Prince Edward Island squad, was his club’s individual hero.

On a snowy November 11, the Axemen won the Maritime Iiltercollegiate Rugby title with a 9-2 victory over Nova Scotia Technical College as Mel Campbell, with two tries and Clarence Olsen, with a single major, were the offensive standouts. For the defeated Tech squad, former Axemen Bob Wentzell, Jack Clark and Ron Parker were singled out for special praise. This contest, refereed by Wally Barteaux-destined to become a 1996 inductee to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame-represented the only game during the season in which Don MacVicar did not score. In subsequent action against Charlottetown Nomads for the prestigious McCurdy Cup, the Axemen fought valiantly in a 3-0 loss.

In addition to the aforementioned Axemen have been cited for their offensive and defensive efforts in particular contests, other outstanding contributors to the championship squad included team captain Joe Hoyt, Lou Delaney, Nick Oldale, Don MacPherson, Scott Weeks, Dunc Jewell, Don MacLean, Ray Tonge and Harold Bogle and Cal Annis, the latter two gentlemen providing excellent service in their roles as manager and assistant manager respectively.

The Axe of 1956 summed up this very momentous occasion thus:

It was a year of contrasts —a year of victory .-.a year of defeat. ..a championship won, another lost. ..games in balmy weather. ..a match in half a foot of snow. Acadia’s ruggeryear was a colourful one. The smoothest backfield in a quarter century and easily the fastest forwards in a decade. An enviable record of four wins and one loss in intercollegiate competition on a total of eight-three points scored and only eight points tallied against. .. An intercollegiate championship. ..a heartbreaking loss (3-0) to the Charlottetown Nomads for the venerable McCurdy Cup.

What an honor it is to welcome back to Acadia for induction to the Sports Hall of Fame members of the rugby Axemen team of the year 1955-56, winners of the highly coveted Maritime Intercollegiate crown.