1962-63 Men’s Basketball Team

The 1962-63 Axemen emerged as Nova Scotia and Maritime Intercollegiate basketball champions and were the first Acadia basketball team to compete in the Canadian Intercollegiate finals. Having narrowly lost the Maritime Intercollegiate crown to St. F .X. the previous season, the Axemen entered the ’62-63 schedule with high hopes of representing the Conference in National play.

Over the previous five-year period the basketball Axemen, with the dynamic and astute Stu Aberdeen at the helm, had registered 52 victories, while losing 28 –being recognized as one of the dominant forces in Canadian Intercollegiate ball. The ’62-63 Axemen lineup, coached by Stu Aberdeen, included team manager Phil Wright, such basketball talent as team captain Peter Simmonds, Charlie Thomas, Richie Spears, the country’s top scorer the previous season Jim Kreutzer, Ian MacMillan, Ronnie Ayes, John Olinto, Paul Caron, Don Parrinelli and Steve Konchalski, the latter a rookie performer who was destined to become one of the legends in Canadian Intercollegiate basketball both as a player and coach.

Unfortunately for the Axemen, second-year star Andy Kranack, a defensive specialist, was lost to the team for the season, having suffered a foot injury.

In the famed Bluenose Classic held that year at the St. Patrick’s High School gymnasium in Halifax, the Aberdeen-directed squad dropped a 60-55 contest to MIT as Konchalski recorded twenty-six points in a losing effort. In a 67-46 victory over St. F.X., Kreutzer and Konchalski each netted 16 points.

During that season as well, the Axemen made a tour of the eastern United States, performing creditably against several highly rated teams.

Against St. Peter’s College of Jersey they lost 67-52 with Thomas netting 17 of their points. With Rutgers University of New Jersey as their opposition, the Axemen suffered a 63-50 setback as Thomas, with 27 points, again emerged as Acadia’s offensive standout. Subsequently they bowed 57 -41 to New York University as Jim Kreutzer registered fourteen points. In a 59-40 defeat at the hands of the New York Athletic Club, Richie Spears hooped seven baskets. Thomas, with 16 points, was again the Axemen’s top scorer in a 52-14 win over Ricker College.

The Axemen won the Nova Scotia Intercollegiate title by defeating St. F .X., 57-55, and 56-24 as Thomas, Kreutzer and Spears were the offensive luminaries. In the Maritime finals, the ousted St. Dunstan’s by scores of 76-37 and 65-44 as Spears, Kreutzer and Dan Parrinelli were the chief contributors.

At the Nationals held in Windsor, Ontario, Acadia ranked first, were joined by Assumption, the University of British Columbia and Loyola. In a 55-36 triumph over UBC, Spears garnered 22 points. In the finals against Assumption, the Axemen’ s Parrinelli, Konchalski and Ronnie Ayes hit the scoresheet for the losing Axemen.

Comment on campus that accompanied the Axemen’ s near miss were ones of appreciation for an outstanding bid for National honors.

“To us they are still No.1”

“Richie Spears -Mr. Automatic is still one of the finest players in Canada” “Brilliant ball handling by Dan Parrinelli”

For the records, Spears was judged to be the MVP at the Nationals and. naturally an All-Star.

What an honor it is to welcome back for induction to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame members of that 1962-63 championship team that seriously challenged for National Intercollegiate basketball honors.