By John DeCoste
Coach Darren Burns has added a handful of committed recruits to the hockey Axemen roster for the coming season.
Burns said this year’s recruits - two defencemen and three forwards – will add both size and bulk to the Acadia team that was a bit short in both areas last season en route to a third-place finish in the league.
Geoffrey Schemitsch is a six-foot-two defenceman from Thornhill, Ont., who was a fourth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2010 NHL entry draft.
Formerly with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, Schemitsch is described as “a highly-skilled and excellent puck-moving defenceman.”
Burns said he is happy a player of Schemitsch’s calibre has chosen Acadia.
“Geoff sees the ice extremely well and has the ability to log a lot of minutes,” the coach said. “His smooth skating and great passing skills will help our power play this season.”
A second blue-line recruit is Chris Buonomo, a six-foot, 190-pound “stay at home” defenceman formerly of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Buonomo, a Sault Ste. Marie native, is expected to add both size and grit to the Acadia backline.
“He sees the ice very well and makes a great first pass,” Burns said. “Chris is a very well-liked teammate, and his attitude to compete will help in his transition from junior to the AUS.”
Tyler Ferry, formerly of the OHL London Knights, is also listed as a defenceman, but Burns confirmed he would be playing forward for Acadia.
“Tyler is tailor-made for AUS hockey,” Burns said. “He is an extremely gritty player who skates well. His determination will help him create offence for our team.”
, Ferry played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, and will bring “great leadership and work ethic” with him to Acadia, Burns said.
Scott Trask, a 6-foot-one, 190-pound forward who formerly played with Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Summerside of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, is the latest in a succession of Newfoundland and Labrador natives to join the Axemen.
Hailing from St. John’s, Trask played on a QMJHL championship team in Moncton in 2009-2010 before finishing his junior career in Summerside last season.
Burns is excited about his excellent work ethic and gritty style that he expects will help him “create an immediate impact” with Acadia.
“Scott is an extremely well-conditioned two-way forward with a high intelligence level,” the coach said. “His team-first attitude and willingness to stick up for teammates will help improve our team’s physical play.”
Trask also brings with him strong leadership skills: he served as captain of a Summerside team that was a finalist at the 2013 Royal Bank Cup.
Finally, Taylor Makin, who most recently played for the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, is yet another six-footer expected to add size and bulk to the Acadia frontline.
Makin, a Lethbridge, Alta., native who previously played for both Prince George and Vancouver in the Western Hockey League, “possesses an excellent physical presence,” Burns said, and will provide the Axemen with “added physical play and toughness up front.
“After playing three years in the WHL, his leadership helped Brooks to a national title this past season,” Burns said of Makin. “He has very good speed and always finishes his checks. He will no doubt be a tough player to play against.”
The Axemen are scheduled to open the exhibition portion of their 2013-2014 season with the Don Wells Memorial tournament Sept. 21 and 22, hosting Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie and St. F.X.
Following that, Acadia will head south of the border for a pair of exhibition games Oct. 5 and 6 against the University of New Hampshire and the University of Vermont.
The 2013-2014 home and season opener is set for Oct. 18, when the Axemen host the St. Thomas Tommies in a 7 p.m. start. The Axemen’s second game will also be at home - a 2 p.m. start Oct. 20 against UPEI.