Graham Baxter – Team Owner/President
Born and raised in Windsor, Wildcats owner Mr. Baxter is a self-made man. From humble beginnings, he earned Red Seal designations as a plumber and pipefitter, eventually creating the Baxter Group of Companies that includes G.C. Baxter Plumbing and Heating Limited, Baxter Sheet Metal, Fairline Electric, Valley Precision Welding, C-Tech Refrigeration, Annapolis Valley Charters, a vehicle leasing company and apartment rentals.
Mr. Baxter first became involved in hockey through the then-Kentville Minor Hockey Association, coaching and sponsoring his son Rodney’s team, approximately 40 years ago. In 2010 Mr. Baxter became president of the Valley Wildcats major bantam team and a year later the Wildcats major midget entry. He then completed the triumvirate by purchasing a Maritime Hockey League Junior A team for the Valley – the Halifax Shipbuilders – in 2013 and moving the club to Kentville, and eventually Berwick. Mr. Baxter says the reason he bought a junior team for the Valley is simple: “To give an opportunity for local kids to play here. There’s a lot of hockey talent in the Valley and now they don’t have to leave home to play at an elite level.”
A member of the Merit Nova Scotia Board of Directors since the organization’s inception, Mr. Baxter also served two terms on the Apprenticeship Board for the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.
Mr. Baxter and his wife Anna have been married for 47 years and have residences in Cambridge and show and breed quarter-horses. They have two children, Rodney and Rhonda and four grandchildren, Lukas, Mitchell, Keisha and Laura.
Rhonda Baxter – Chief Financial Officer
A valued member of the Wildcats organization since Day 1, Rhonda is responsible for the team’s finances.
The Office Manager/Comptroller for the Baxter Group of Companies and serving as owner Graham Baxter’s “right hand”, Rhonda holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) from Acadia University.
Rhonda was born in Berwick and resides in Cambridge with her son Lukas and daughter Keisha. A softball player, Rhonda also finds time to serve as treasurer of the Nova Scotia Female Midget Hockey League.
Brandon Benedict- General Manager
Brandon is entering his first season as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Wildcats organization in 2019-20. He played his entire major junior career with the Halifax Mooseheads followed by a four-year university career with the Acadia Axemen. His pro career saw him make stops in Texas, Denmark, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Nottingham England. His love for the game was evident at every level Brandon played, and he looks forward to bringing that love for the game, along with his reputation as a digger and a hard-working mentality to his new position. His experience as an assistant coach with the Belfast Giants of the EIHL will certainly be an asset for the Avondale NS native.
Mike Trinacty – Director of Off-Ice Operations
Mike is in his fifth season with the Wildcats and oversees everything from ticketing, 50-50, concessions, sponsorship and intermission events.
Born in Halifax and raised in Windsor, Mike has called Berwick home since 1981 and is a provincial government retiree. A graduate of the Recreation Management Program at Acadia University, Mike enjoyed a lengthy career in the Valley as a consultant and manager in the field of sport and recreation.
Mike is also a councilor for the Town of Berwick and Chair of the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame Committee. Mike lives with his wife Brenda, who serves as a game-day volunteer. Their two daughters – Melanie and Jill – live in Ottawa.
Wayne Hamilton – Fundraising Coordinator
A native of Annapolis Royal, Wayne spent 30 years in Yarmouth working as Events Coordinator with the South West Shore Development Authority, which eventually led to his involvement with the Maritime Hockey League’s Yarmouth Mariners. The Town of Yarmouth helped secure the Mariners franchise in 2002, recognizing the economic benefit to having junior A hockey in the community and Wayne assisted the program in an operations/promotions capacity and helped grow the Mariners into one of the league’s premier franchises.
A skilled events planner, Wayne played a key role in luring the NHL’s New York Islanders to hold their training camp in Yarmouth in 2005 and 2006. Additionally, Wayne sat on the executive of the Yarmouth Bantam AAA hockey team and various Yarmouth-based events such as the Chicks with Sticks female minor hockey tournament, Nova Scotia Music Week, Ride the Lobster Unicycle Race and the Western Nova Scotia Exhibition.
Now in semi-retirement and to live closer to his three Halifax-based children, Cindy, Crystal, and Nathan, Wayne moved to Kentville with his wife Tanya and joined the Wildcats as a consultant last year before taking on his current role this season.
Rod Reeves – Communications Coordinator
Rod spent last year as the PA announcer for all three Valley Wildcats teams, but this year is taking on a new challenge as Communications Coordinator.
He’s spent the last 30 plus years in media, marketing, and sales and he looks forward to bringing his passion and love of sports and communications to this new role.
Rod lives in Berwick with his wife Dana.
Trina MacDonald – Director of Community Involvement
Trina, a native of Moncton, enters her third season overseeing the Wildcats varied community relations program.
The Wildcats take great pride in their community outreach that includes player involvement in minor hockey, blood donor clinics, a school breakfast program and visits to schools, senior’s homes and the Berwick Public Library.
Former President of the Berwick Minor Hockey Association, Trina is Branch Administrator with Parkland Industries in Berwick.
She lives in Berwick with her husband John and teenage son Evan.
Director of Billeting- Cheryl Fancy
Cheryl retired after 30 years as Youth Worker/LPN at the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre. She currently holds down a casual position as an LPN for the IWK at the Nova Scotia Youth Centre in Waterville. Cheryl is a mother of three and a grandmother of four. She is known for her volunteer work throughout Berwick and is a proud member of the community.
Justin Halbersma – Team Chaplain/Statistician
Justin, a preacher at the Kentville Christian Reformed Church in Upper Canard, enters his fourth season with the Wildcats and first as chaplain.
A Port Williams native and Kentville resident, Justin holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Associates Degree in Divinity from the Christian Leaders Institute.
Justin also coaches the West Hants girls under-15 soccer team and the Central Kings High School girl’s junior varsity soccer team.
He lives with his wife Emily and their two cats.
Matt Little –Play-By-Play Announcer
Truro-born Matt has been the Wildcats play-by-play broadcaster since the team’s inception.
An announcer at AVR Radio, Matt is a graduate of the Radio and Television Arts program at Kingstec in Kentville and spent 10 years with CKEC Radio in New Glasgow. While in Pictou County, Matt served as in-game announcer and did play-by-by for the Pictou County Weeks Crushers.