Darren Burns enters his 17th season at the helm of the Acadia Axemen hockey team - Acadia's longest serving coach.
This past season, Burns guided the Axemen to a bronze medal win at the U SPORTS National championship tournament in Fredericton. The Axemen eliminated No. 1 ranked Alberta in the opening game and then lost UNB in a semi-final match up. The Axemen then topped the StFX X-Men for the bronze medal win. The Axemen finished the 2016-17 season with a 20-8-2 record - good enough for second place in the AUS final standings.
Burns was selected in 2015, as an assistant coach for the U SPORTS All-Star squad that played two exhibition games in early December 2015 against the World Juniors Team Canada.
The 2014-15 season was the second consecutive U SPORTS championship tournament that the Axemen attended. After posting a 20-5-3 record and finishing second in the AUS standings, the Axemen advanced to the AUS finals after eliminating the Saint Mary's Huskies in a gruelling five game series. Acadia fell short in repeating as the AUS championships with a three game series loss to UNB, but still advanced to the University Cup hosted by StFX in Halifax, N.S.
In 2014-15, the Axemen finished second in the AUS standings with a 21-4-3 record and captured a semi-final bye. In the semi-finals, Acadia beat Moncton in four games of a five game series and did the same in the AUS Championship series with a four game best of five win over the Saint Mary's Huskies and found themselves off to Saskatoon for the University Cup - the first time since the 2005-2006 season.
Burns, who captained the Acadia in his senior year as an Axemen, is the second longest serving coach in the AUS. In his 14 seasons as head coach, his teams have not made the playoffs only three times – those in his first three years rebuilding the Axemen. With a 235-171-35-8 regular season and post season record, Darren has made the post season 12 years in a row within one of the toughest university hockey conferences in the country.
Burns has played an important role in the development of local Annapolis Valley hockey players, consulting in the creation of the Acadia Minor Hockey Association. Acadia Axemen summer hockey camps have also grown to offer an assortment of special camps that have assisted in the development of local and provincial players.
Darren was an assistant coach with the Team Canada entry at the World University Games in Torino, Italy, which captured gold in 2006/2007. Darren was named the 2005 Atlantic University Sport Coach of the Year and 2005 U SPORTS Coach of the Year.
A native of Brockville, ON, Burns played for the Axemen from 1990-95 and was a member of the 1992-93 National Championship winning squad. Darren also won a second CIS Championship as an assistant with the Axemen in 1995-96. Burns resides in Port Williams, NS, with his wife Lana, son Brady and daughter Allie.