I remember it like it was yesterday, back in 2012 when the final buzzer went off and capped off my last year of high school. I played for the Fredericton Black Kats and we had just won the provincial championship. Just a kid from New Brunswick with big hoop dreams like everybody else, I knew I didn’t want that to be the last time of having the feeling of winning a championship. Being from New Brunswick and always looked at as the underdog compared to provinces like Ontario and Nova Scotia, brought the best out of me. I have always been very proud of being a kid from Fredericton New Brunswick and brought the challenges on myself to win an championship. I wanted to win, not only for the town of Wolfville and my teammates, but also for everybody who supported me in New Brunswick as well. I carry that same attitude with me into every game I play.
When committing to Acadia University, I remember promising head coach at the time Steve Baur that I would do everything I could to help bring a championship here to Acadia during my five years. Coming into my first year at Acadia I did not get a lot of playing time as expected. Our team was loaded with talent from spots 1-12. Joining the defending AUS champions that year we ended up losing in the finals against CBU in a close game, but still ended up grabbing the wild card spot to be able to go to Nationals in Ottawa that year. Being able to experience something at a stage that big was incredible and brought lots of learning experiences. I looked up to a lot of the veteran guys on the team like Owen Klassen, Anthony Sears, and Anthony Ashe as they were the leaders of that team. If not for them I would not be at the level I am at today as they showed me what it was like to practice at a championship level every day on and off the court. Going into my second year I ended up finding myself in the starting lineup among these players that I looked up to. We ended up finishing first in the AUS that year but had a disappointing ending as we were upset in the semis against St.FX. This one stung, as everybody felt like this was the year we would bring home a national championship. After that game, I remember saying to myself I never want to have this feeling of disappointment again.
Going into my third year, it was a rebuilding year for us as we lost a lot of our main guys and head coach Steve Baur. Baur, who went on to work with the Women’s National team, left the team in the hands Assistant coach at the time, Kevin Duffie. Duffie was now our Head coach, and I never felt more comfortable with him stepping into that role. As many athletes know sports don’t always go as planned, as there are many ups and downs to the road of success.
During my five years at Acadia, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. There are so many memories I have at Acadia. From being in a packed gym almost every game, hearing my dad yell from the crowd (classic Marty), from hitting last second shots. However, no memory will overcome the brotherhood bond we have built as a team throughout my five years here.
There is just one more memory left to fill, and that is to win an AUS title and ultimately, of course, a National Championship. Winning a title this year would be something very special not only for me, but to do it alongside one of my best friends Aj Simmonds. Aj and I both came to Acadia in the same year as rookies in 2012. Him being from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia we always played against each other during provincial basketball, and to be honest, we were not a fan of each other growing up. Now we laugh about it as we have a bond that cannot be broken. It would mean everything to win a championship with Aj, as we have been on this roller coaster ride together from day one.
Someone I have looked up to and had been a huge part in my life and success in sports is my dad, Marty Arseneault. He and my Mother, Joanne, always try and make it out to my games no matter where we were playing. I know Marty is just as hungry as I am to win a Championship, and it would mean the world to share that moment with number one fan!
Being a veteran now, if there is one this I figured out about the playoffs is that it is all about who is hot at the right time going into that weekend. With the season winding down, as a team, we are making sure that each day in practice we are taking one step closer to reaching our goal. Playing in the Scotia Bank Center is awesome, as Scotia never disappoints in bringing the energy. The environment in there is just great! I think it is great for the city of Halifax that the final 8 is returning as it is something this city deserve.
My desire to win is at an all time high, as it is my last kick at the can. I am still chasing my dream to bring a title back to Acadia again. A championshiop this year would be icing on the cake. And to be able to go out on top, and to do it in front of the Scotia fans would be a memory I would cherish forever. Wolfvegas (Wolfville) is a place where I call my second home, and it would be an incredible achievement not only for me, but also for the Acadia Axemen.
Wolfville, Novia Scotia