1991-92 Acadia Hockey Axemen


The 1991-92 Acadia hockey Axemen were a unique combination of goalscorers and grinders, a group of guys who could put the puck in the net and still play a ‘lunch bucket’ brand of hockey that earned an AUAA championship and took the team all the way to the national final.
Heading into the ’91-’92 season, Acadia was looking to build on a third-place finish the previous year. They did that and then some, going 18-4-2 and easily laying claim to the Kelly Division title. They were ranked #1 in the nation, unbeaten at home, and capped the year by nabbing Acadia’s first AUAA championship in 43 years.
Up front, George Dupont led the way with 13 goals and 31 assists for 44 points in 22 games. Norm Batherson and forward-turned-blueliner Kevin Knopp were nearly as prolific offensively with 37 and 34 points respectively, followed by Sean Rowe, who had 33 points in 23 games and 10 assists in seven post-season contests. Duane Dennis was the final member of the 30-point plus club that year, but others firmly in the offensive mix included Colin Gregor, Paul Sutcliffe, team captain Mike Arthur, Scott Farrell, Mark McFarlane and Darren Burns. Others who contributed included Scott Gallant, Jeff MacLeod, Ken Cullihall, Malcolm Cameron, Milan Dragicevic, Morgan Mann, Dan Holden, Rob Pallante, Jerry Ribble, Colin Austin and Scott McChesney, with goaltenders Dennis Sproxton and Arnie Caplan standing tall between the pipes.
Dupont and Knopp were named AUAA all-stars and head coach Tom Coolen was AUAA Coach-of-the-Year.
After such a solid regular campaign, Acadia was hungry. They dispatched St. F.X. in consecutive games by 7-0 and 6-2 scores in the opening round of the AUAA playoffs, but had to come-from-behind in the best-of-three Kelly Division final to deny the pesky Dalhousie Tigers. The Axemen dropped the opener 5-3, won the second 5-4 and posted a 6-3 win in the finale to advance to the AUAA best-of-three final against UPEI.
Acadia outgunned UPEI 12-1 in the opener, but needed a Duane Dennis short-handed tally in double overtime to sweep the Panthers, claim the AUAA championship and a trip to the national final.
However, Acadia stepped onto the ice at Varsity Arena in Toronto without the services of McFarlane, Rowe and Gregor, who had to sit out the national tournament as a result of suspensions incurred during the UPEI series. Undaunted, the Axemen stepped up to the plate and brushed aside Wilfred Laurier 5-2 on a five-point performance from Dupont and stellar goaltending from Sproxton.
In the final, Acadia faced off against the Alberta Golden Bears. In a see-saw battle that wasn’t decided until the final period, the Golden Bears prevailed by a 5-2 score. Again, Sproxton was outstanding and kept things close, and Knopp, Dupont and Dennis were all named CIAU tournament all-stars.
It was, indeed, a storybook season full of moments and milestones that paved the way for greater accomplishments to come. For their outstanding achievements and contribution to Acadia Athletics, we welcome the 1991-92 Hockey Axemen to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame.