Paddock commits to Acadia

Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller/WHL Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Max Paddock makes one of his 28 saves during the 2020-21 season opener against the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre.

Max Paddock is heading east for the next step in his hockey career.

The graduating netminder for the Prince Albert Raiders will suit up for the Acadia Axemen this fall after committing to the U Sports program in Wolfville, N.S. on Thursday.

“The decision was pretty easy when ‘Burnsy’ (head coach Darren Burns) reached out to me,” Paddock said in a prepared statement. “My cousin Travis Young (who suited up for the Raiders from 2003 to 2004) played for the Axemen a while back and he had nothing but good things to say about the program.

“Also knowing that Jordy Stallard (who is another former Raider and from Paddock’s hometown of Brandon) will be there will help make the transition out east a lot smoother.”

Paddock, who will be celebrating his 21st birthday on Tuesday, started his WHL career with the Regina Pats before he was dealt to the Raiders at the 2020 trade deadline.

In a combined 148 regular season appearances for the two clubs, he posted a 64-58-14 record with a 3.01 goals against average, a .905 save percentage and nine shutouts.

While he never suited up for a WHL playoff game, Paddock was able to compete in a Memorial Cup for the tournament host Pats in 2018 and was named to the event’s all-star team.

“We believe we have added one of the best goalies in the Canadian Hockey League in Max,” Burns said in a prepared statement. “He comes from an excellent hockey background in terms of family pedigree and has a great reputation as a person and teammate.

“Everyone knows the goaltending position is the most important in hockey and Max is a major positive addition for our program.”

The Axemen finished second in the AUS (Atlantic University Sport) conference in 2019-20 with a 19-9-0-2 record and reached the final before losing to the UNB Reds.

They also qualified for the 2020 University Cup as event hosts, but the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acadia is rumoured to be hosting the 2022 competition, which would take place in Halifax, but nothing official has been announced by U Sports.