Joey Wells – ’76 Athlete


Literally and figuratively, Joey Wells stood above most other basketball players in Nova Scotia for most of his career.

An Amherst native, Joey excelled in basketball and track and field in high school, winning multiple provincial titles in track and field, leading Amherst to back-to-back provincial titles in basketball and representing Nova Scotia at the 1971 Canada Games.

Former Axemen player and respected long-time coach Andy Kranack was Joey’s coach for four years at Amherst High School.
“He was a very devoted young man who was part of our program for four years,” Kranack recalls. “He always worked really hard, and he enjoyed a lot of success due to his hard work and devotion.”

Kranack said that Joey’s choice came down to Acadia, St. F.X. and the University of Tennessee, where former Axemen coach Stu Aberdeen, on Kranack’s recommendation, had offered him a full scholarship.
“I didn’t specifically steer him to Acadia or try to influence him, but he realized I had gone to Acadia and I’d like to think that was part of his decision,” Kranack noted.

Recruited to Acadia by then-Axemen coach Gib Chapman in the summer of 1971, Joey was given the task of replacing graduated Rick Eaton, the Player of the Year in Canada the previous season.
Joey didn’t necessarily make everyone forget Rick, but he did manage to make sure everyone remembered Joey Wells long after his four-year playing career at Acadia had ended.

Joey joined an Axemen program that had captured the 1971 CIAU title on Acadia’s home court in Wolfville. In his freshman year, Acadia came within eight points of back-to-back championships, losing 87-80 to host UBC in the national final game. Joey would compete at nationals three times in his four years with the Axemen, twice as conference champions and once as a wildcard entry.

Statistically, Joey was a consistent scorer and rebounder throughout his career, averaging 17 points and a little over nine rebounds a game. For anyone who followed university basketball in the mid-1970s, one of their most vivid and enduring memories has to be the epic battles between Joey and Lee Thomas of the Saint Mary’s Huskies.

However, he saved his best for last, finishing his senior year (1974-1975) averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game, both career highs.

His consistent level of play resulted in being named to the all-conference team all four years he played at Acadia. In 1972-73 and 1974-75, he was chosen a second-team all-Canadian.

Often overlooked in light of his accomplishments on the basketball court is the fact that Joey also continued to be an outstanding track and field performer during his Acadia career.

In his senior year, 1974-1975, Joey had six top-four placings at the conference championships in throwing and jumping events, including second-place finishes in the javelin, shot put and high jump.

Please join me in welcoming to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame, in the athlete category, Joey Wells, an outstanding basketball player, multi-sport performer and one of the greatest Nova Scotian student-athletes to don the Red and Blue.