Donald Wells- (Builder)

Don Wells, a native of Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, played both junior and senior hockey in his native province before entering the University of New Brunswick to pursue studies in physical education. Following graduation from U.N.B., he played senior hockey in St. John’s before entering Acadia during the fall of ’64 to enter the Bachelor of Education programme.

Having been a Maritime Conference hockey all-star, Don was obviously a welcomed addition to Major Fred Kelly’s ’65-’66 Axemen. In his initial stint in the Axemen garb, Don made a very favourable impression on the sports department of the Athenaeum. It was thus reported: In a 6-1 victory of Dalhousie, Don Wells showed a possession of calm authority that bolsters any team. His deceptive skating and defensive maneuvers and torrid wrist shot provided many thrills for the victory-hungry fans.

For the records, Don, on that occasion, joined Bruce Clark, Rae Clark, Grant McCharles, Owen “Cookie” Hennigar and Phil Brown as Acadia marksmen. Contributions to the Acadia cause that winter earned Don most valuable player honours and the Orlay Bligh Trophy. The following season saw this physical education major succeed Major Fred Kelly as the icemen’s coach-with the latter retaining his position as Head of Athletics. For nineteen seasons, Mr. Wells guided the fortunes of the hockey Axemen and enjoyed many memorable moments. First of these occurred during the winter of ’68-’69 when the pucksters-for the first time in many years- became serious contenders for the Conference’s crown. Winning thirteen games, while tying one, in their eighteen-game schedule, Don and his skaters narrowly missed a trip to the nationals-unfortunately losing to the powerful Saint Mary’s Huskies in overtime. For such an inspirational performance, the team and management were inducted into Acadia’s Hall of Fame during the fall of 1994.

Don and his charges enjoyed a successful ’74-’75 season, finishing second to Saint Mary’s in the regular schedule, while posting a 7-3 victory over the strong University of Moncton skaters in an early playoff encounter.

The ’83-’84 ice season was another enjoyable one for Wells’ Axemen. Executing a surprising 5-4 victory over U.N.B. Red Devils in playoff action, the icemen caused a stir among their followers. Reality set in, however, as the powerful Red Devils rallied to win the series. The ’84-’85 season, however, was probably the crowning success of Don’s tenure as the Axemen’s coach. With such stalwarts as Doug Irwin, Greg Rowe, Allan Mitchell, Bob Caldwell and Harvey Mapplebeck in uniform, the team produced a Drive for ’85 as predicted by the then newly-formed Blueline Booster Club-concluding the season with seven consecutive victories, including a couple over #1 rated U.P.E.I. In playoff action against Moncton the Axemen won the initial encounter, 5-4, lost the second, 4-3, in double overtime and were outplayed by the eventual Conference champs in the series’ finale. Fittingly, Don Wells, assisted that season by “Muck” Reading, was selected as the Atlantic Universities Athletic Association’s coach-of-the-year.

During the last thirteen academic years Don served as the university’s Athletic Director, being a major supporter and builder of both club sport programmes and the established varsity sports. Success enjoyed by both the Axemen and Axettes during Don’s tenure as Athletic Director are too numerous to relate. Needless to say, the hockey Axemen’s national championship victories in 1993 and 1996 and the women’s soccer team’s Canadian intercollegiate title in 1990 rank high on the memory scale. During Don’s thirty plus years of service with Acadia’s Physical Education department, he has contributed much as a coach and developer.

Recognizing the value to Acadia, he has represented the university’s interests at a professional level with both the AUAA and CIAU. Witnessing the opening of the new ice arena and attending the inaugural Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner during the fall of’88 certainly were proud moments for the university’s Athletic Director. Fittingly, during the spring of ’98 Mr. Wells was honoured as the recipient of the Associated Alumni Excellence in University Service award. Held in high esteem by students and staff, Don received numerous standing ovations at the Fred Kelly Athletic Awards Night held in the spring.

Returning this academic year as a full-time teacher, he will assuredly make an impact on the lives of his many students. What an honour it is to present for induction to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame, Mr. Don Wells…an outstanding athlete, teacher, coach and administrator for some thirty plus years.