1976-’77 Men’s Basketball Team

…Canadian Intercollegiate Champions.

Following three frustrating years of almost winning the National title, the Dick Hunt-coached Axemen played brilliant basketball as they defeated University of Prince Edward Island, Waterloo University, and Lakehead University by respective scores of 88- 70, 65-63, and 72-63 to win the Canadian Intercollegiate championship during the spring of  ’77.

The Axemen finished with an outstanding record of 25 wins and 5 losses, including twenty-three wins in their last twenty-four games.

Team and individual honours gained by the Axemen were many. The club won the Acadia Invitational, the A.U.A.A. league and playoff championships, and, of course, the C.I.A.U. title. Individually, Ed Shannon was the A.U.A.A.’s most valuable player; Alvin Jessamy was named to the Conference’s first-team all-star squad; Doug Roberts was placed on the league’s second all-star team; Gordie West won the Don Seaman Sportsmanship Award; Alvin Jessamy was chosen All-Canadian and was named to the First Team AII-Star Squad at the National Basketball Tournament and Dick Hunt won Coach-of-the-Year honours.

Senior Ed Shannon from Worcester, Mass. amassed outstanding point totals during the season, including 48 points and 23 rebounds in one A.U.A.A. play off game. Junior Alvin Jessamy from New York finished the season with a 20 points per game average and was the outstanding offensive rebounder in the country. Doug Roberts, a freshman from Maine, became the team’s third leading scorer with a 14-point per game average. Sackville, Nova Scotia star Robbie Upshaw was an outstanding starting guard and increased his floor-shooting percentage to 41 percent. South Shore star Gordie West was the other starting guard. Being an outstanding clutch performer, he made the big play in nearly every crucial spot that contributed to many Axemen victories.

On the bench rookie Ted Upshaw, from nearby Windsor, became a vital force as the season progressed as his soft shooting touch and tremendous rebounding ability gave the Axemen one of the most powerful bench strengths in Canadian basketball. Kentville star Tony Acker provided outstanding defensive muscle, while AI Oliver, Eric Skinner, Bruce Toigo, John Archibald, Steve Johnson, Peter Leighton, Norm Whynot and Bruce Hunt each had many fine moments throughout the campaigns.

In the championship game at the Halifax Forum before an excited crowd of 5,000 fans, the Axemen dominated Lakehead Nor’Westers to win the title. For Coach Dick Hunt and his assistants Don Crosby and John Townsend, therapist Peter Justason and team manager Elizabeth Raaymakers, a fitting climax to a job that was very well done.

It is indeed an honour to welcome back these National Champions for induction to Acadia’s Sports Hall of Fame.