ANTIGONISH, NS – StFX men's hockey head coach Brad Peddle is pleased to announce and welcome six new student-athletes to the U SPORTS silver medalist X-Men hockey program for the 2018-19 season. All six are from Atlantic Canada and include one goaltender, three defencemen and two forwards.
"We are very pleased with our recruiting class to date," comments Coach Peddle, the 2018 AUS Coach of the Year. "It is a well-balanced group with each individual adding important pieces to our team in different aspects. This is a recruiting group with a lot of familiarity amongst themselves, along with several ties to our existing team members, making for continued great chemistry within our program. This is a high character group that will join a very solid veteran team as we get set to challenge in another very tough AUS conference this season."
Blade Mann-Dixon is a goaltender and local Antigonish, N.S. product who comes via way of the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL. Coach Peddle is very excited to add Blade to the program, noting, "He is very familiar with our program and will be the first Jr. X-Men play for StFX. Blade has been a member of all our junior programs and has developed into a very good goaltender. He is a great kid, and is a very competitive and athletic goalie that gives us great depth and security in the nets. He has tremendous potential and it will be great to see his development in blue and white over the next few years."
Bailey Webster from Kelvin Grove, P.E.I., is a big, steady defenceman who played his entire junior career with the Saint John Sea Dogs and has valuable championship experience winning a QMJHL title in 2018. "Bailey has tremendous character and leadership abilities finishing his last year as captain in Saint John," comments Peddle. "He comes highly recommended from former coaches and teammates and will be a great addition to our program. He is very good on the penalty kill, and will give us the size and dependability we were looking to add to our defence. He will compliment a strong returning core very nicely."
Adam Holwell is a defenceman with the 2018 Memorial Cup and QMJHL champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan, having the honour of scoring the game winning goal in the Memorial Cup championship final. "We are very excited to add Adam to our X-Men hockey program," says Peddle of the St. John's, Nfld product. "He is a very good two-way defenceman with great hockey sense that will make an immediate impact to our defence. He is a strong competitor with great character and leadership abilities. Adam is coming off an outstanding overage season resulting in some pro opportunities recently with Maple Leafs development camp. He brings valuable championship winning experience and will be a great fit and tremendous addition to our group."
Will Thompson is a strong skating two-way defenceman from the QMJHL's Rouyn Noranda Huskies. Coach Peddle is happy to be adding the Fredericton, N.B. native to the team, noting that "he that moves the puck very well, has good size and possesses a strong physical game. Will has a tremendous work ethic and competes very hard, playing opposing teams top lines in junior. He is also a very good student, an assistant captain last year, and he fits the type of player and person we want in our program, he will be a great addition."
Will Bower is a forward who spent time with both the Charlottetown Islanders and Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League. A native of Saint John, N.B., "Will is a hard-working, gritty forward that plays with an edge and comes highly recommend from both coaches and teammates," comments Peddle. "He will fit into our style of play nicely. He has some valuable playoff experience from his Moncton Wildcat days; he is very good on face-offs, but can also play any position and will give us great depth up front. Will is a tremendous student and a great teammate that will do anything to win."
Matt Graham is a forward from Bedford, N.S. who comes to the X-Men via Robert Morris University in the NCAA. Coach Peddle is very pleased to be adding Matt to the program, noting "He is a strong two-way forward that has the ability to create offense while at the same time being very reliable defensively. He comes very highly recommended based upon his character, talent and work ethic. After two years of Division 1 NCAA play, Matt has made an important decision to transfer to a school closer to home and his family. With two years of high level university hockey experience he will be well prepared to step in to our league and be a very solid addition to our group."
The X-Men begin pre-season exhibition play on September 18th when they host Moncton, followed up by a pair of games on the road against UQTR and Ottawa on September 21-22. They begin 2018-19 AUS regular season play on the road when they visit Acadia on September 28th. Their home opener will be held on Homecoming weekend on Saturday, September 29th at 7:00 pm against Saint Mary's at the Antigonish Arena. The X-Men's first game at the Charles V. Keating Centre is slated for Wednesday, October 10th against Acadia. Season passes for X-Men hockey will go on sale in early August.