Robert Michel, who is the top-scoring defenseman in the Central Canada Hockey League, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Maine beginning next fall.
He joins left winger Justin Rai, who also signed an NLI and will join the program next season.
“They are both older players and they will be impact recruits,” said Maine head coach Red Gendron.
Both will be coming as scholarship players.
“Robert is a power play defenseman,” said Gendron. “He is very poised with the puck. He’s very smart. He has a good shot and he gets it through. He’s also a very good skater.”
Michel, who will turn 20 on Dec. 1, has 10 goals and 17 assists in 28 games for the Ottawa Junior Senators. He had eight goals and 24 assists in 60 games for them last year.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound native of Camillus, New York, said Maine was the “best fit for me.”
“The coaching staff was very supportive, and I felt I could definitely get a good education at Maine and play competitive hockey,” said Michel, who plans to study engineering.
He also said he liked the campus and the community.
“As soon as I walked on campus, I felt very [comfortable]. It’s a small community and everybody was very welcoming. In small towns, everyone knows you,” said Michel, who compared Orono to his hometown, which has 24,000 people. “It’s pretty hard to pass up an offer like that.”
“I’m definitely excited,” added Michel.
He said he plans to work on all aspects of his game in preparation for his college career.
“I want to become a better hockey player,” said Michel, who is a right-hand shot.
Rai, according to Gendron, is a “hard-nosed winger with a good shot and a real good release. He’ll go to the net.”
The 5-10, 165-pound Rai, who is 20, has 15 goals and 16 assists in 24 games for the Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.
Rai had 21 goals and 25 assists in 51 games for Prince George a year ago.
Rai is from Surrey, British Columbia, and grew up a Paul Kariya fan. Kariya won the Hobey Baker Award as a freshman at Maine.
Marshwood standout to play baseball at UMaine
Infielder Zach Quintal of Marshwood High School in South Berwick is among six players who have signed letters of intent for the UMaine baseball team, head coach Steve Trimper announced in a news release Tuesday.
The other recruits are Andrew Noviello, an infielder/pitcher from Raynham, Massachusetts; Danny Casals, a shortstop from Miami, Florida; Jeremy Pena, a shortstop from Providence, Rhode Island; Colin Ridley, an outfielder/first baseman from East Harwich, Massachusetts; and Buddy Dewaine, a third baseman/pitcher from Uncasville, Connecticut.
Quintal was the fourth-ranked player in Maine by Perfect Game. He helped lead Marshwood to West Class A title in June.
“Zach brings us high-end speed with a Black Bear grit and toughness that will be sure to impact our program,” Trimper said in the release.
Noviello, the No. 1 ranked player in Massachusetts by Perfect Game, is one of two players from New England that was voted to the Perfect Game Preseason All-American team.
Casals is a slick fielding shortstop from Christopher Columbus High School, coached by Joe Weber, which also produced current Black Bears Christian Garabedian and Danny Diaz. He has been selected as 2015 Preseason All-American by Perfect Game.
Pena is the second-ranked player in Rhode Island by Perfect Game, which also ranked him in the Top 500 in the country.
Ridley is attending Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, coached by Robert Dowling, and previously attended Nauset High School in Eastham, Massachusetts. As a sophomore, he was an Atlantic Coast Conference all-star for Nauset, and was an all-star performer at Avon Old Farms this past spring.
Dewaine is expected to be a two-way player at Maine. He is the fourth-ranked player in Connecticut by Perfect Game, a Top 500 player for Perfect Game, and a Connecticut all-star.
The eligibility of all student-athletes is contingent upon admission to UMaine and compliance with all NCAA rules, including registration with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Arizona State going Division I
Arizona State University, which won the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s national championship last season for club hockey programs, will be elevated to Division I varsity status beginning with the 2016-17 season.
The Sun Devils, based in Tempe, Arizona, will be the 60th Division I program. Penn State became the 59th team in 2012-13.
Arizona State will play a mixture of Division I and ACHA teams next season before transitioning to a full Division I schedule in 2016-17. They will seek inclusion into the National Collegiate Hockey Conference or the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Arizona State will be the first Division I hockey program from the southwest.