We are proud to recognize players who have displayed exceptional dedication to the Jacksonville Axemen and the Sport of Rugby League. These players not only had great careers with the Axemen, but also went above and beyond as ambassadors for the team and our great sport both on and off the field. All players inducted into the Hall Of Fame must have:
– A minimum three year playing career with the Jacksonville Axemen
– Been retired from the team for 2 seasons
– Showed all the On and Off field qualities that saw them universally respected by their teammates
– Consistently demonstrated the desire to grow both the Jacksonville Axemen and the sport of Rugby League, as a player and community ambassador
In this our 10th year of operations, we are honored to induct our inaugural group of Hall of Fame Players, as well as our most loyal supporter and sponsor. Please join us in celebrating the foundation that these great Axemen laid for future years of Rugby League in Jacksonville.
The 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees are:
Tim Stouder joined the Axemen in our 2006 inaugural season and played until 2009. Not only was Tim one of the biggest and most powerful men to ever pull on an Axemen Jersey, he consistently proved to be a leader both during games, and serving as team manager on frequent occasions during away games. Tims military background and maturity made him the perfect balance of hard hitting toughman, and leader for the younger players. Tim was one of the key members that saw the Axemen advance to the 2009 National Championship with an unbeaten regular season record, and in doing so started the unbeaten regular season, home game record that is now entering its 7th season. Tim is now one of the most respected Kayak fishermen in the Jacksonville area, and continues to be active in charities that serve veterans.
Another 2006 inaugural player that proved his former military service was a perfect match of toughness and maturity for the Axemen, both on and off the field. Like Tim Stouder, “Drago” was not only a consistent dominant force for his 3 years as a player, but he also took a constant leadership role during travel, team preparation, and mentoring younger players. Even after injury bought his Rugby League career to an early end, he continued to be a member of the team and served as an assistant coach in the “beginning of an era” 2009 season. He was also one of the masterminds behind the Axemens defeat of the “Half and Half” game that saw the Axemen defeat the Jacksonville Knights in the first ever Rugby League vs. American Football game. Drago has continued to play for the Jacksonville Men Rugby Union team up until this year.
Without a doubt one of the toughest men to ever play Rugby League in the USA. Taco joined the Axemen in 2006, and his background as one the the best Linebackers in High School American Football was not lost after he found Rugby League. Taco can easily make claim to some of the most devastating tackles ever delivered on a USA Rugby League field, and his ability to top the hit up count at the same time, is legendary. In addition to his hard playing style, Taco is still talked about today for his ability to play through pain and injury. When all coupled together, Taco Pope was one of the best Axemen players to take the field. In addition to playing a major role in the undefeated National Championship Season in 2010, he also represented the USA National Team at International level games on multiple occasions. And if that is not enough, he is also one of the most respected Axemen for his humility and dedication to the team and his teammates. Taco is living in Yulee, FL and is now married with two awesome sons.
Aaron Peacock joined the Axemen in their inaugural season and was quick to establish himself as a consistent starter. Standing well over 6 feet tall, he used his reach to become a solid defender in the middle of the field with opposing players finding it difficult to stay out of his range. Although quiet and unassuming in demeanor, his work rate during games was very high with more than his share of carries and always double digit tackles, and he proved a handful for defenders using his height to constantly find his front when tackled. Off the field Aaron filled the role as the teams graphic designer and has created the Axemen poster and programs designs since 2007. A role he continues to fill today. Being one of the original Axemen he cut his teeth with Rugby League when every game was a tough and rugged affair for the Jacksonville team, and without using a lot of words, lead by example on and off the field. Aaron now lives in Michigan with his wife and children, and works as a professional graphic designer.
Bob Knoepfel joined the Axemen on day one of the teams creation and has been with the team in some capacity ever since. As a player he was a stand out in everything he did. His defense was hard and aggressive and his offense made him dangerous anytime he had the ball. Standing 6’6″ and having great passing skills allowed him to be one of the best utility players in Axemen history. Although most at home in the forwards, Bob has played almost every position on the field, including Five-eight as a play maker. A role that he also proved very effective in when he was selected to play for the USA National team during the multiple international games. His willingness to put his body on the line every game, and play through painful injuries ranks among some of the toughest players in history. But Bobs service to the Axemen off the field is equally impressive. He is without a doubt the player who has done to most for the team from a promotional stand point, and team administrator. He has seen time as an assistant coach, head coach of multiple minor league teams, and multiple seasons as the game-day announcer for the team. He has also opened his home to many players over the years who were looking for accommodation in Jacksonville. We doubt there is a player, sponsor, fan or supporter who does not know, or at least know of Bob Knoepfel. He is hands down the wittiest and funniest Axemen in history. Bob is everywhere he wants to be, anytime is wants to be there.
Tony Weight, and is wife Judy, were the first sponsors for the Jacksonville Axemen, and have continued to support the team ever since. In fact it was Tonys advice and support during the planning creating stages of the team, that llowed for the 2006 decision to make the team a reality. Tonys guidance in a variety of business and marketing meetings over the past decade have been some of the most valuable advice the team has secured. Not only have both Tony and Judy provided sponsorship, and business support for a decade, they have graciously provided air travel for the team administrators and sponsors each year the Axemen played in the National Championship game. It is without hesitation that the Jacksonville Axemen proudly call Tony and Judy Weight, two of the most important people in the success of the team, and the growth of Rugby League in the City Of Jacksonville. In short they have both allowed many dreams to be realized for this team, our founders, and all of our players for 10 years.