Oliver Wahlstrom became the youngest hockey player ever to verbally commit to the University of Maine 18 months ago when, at the age of 13, he told Maine head coach Red Gendron he was going to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a Black Bear.
But he has had a change of heart and said Thursday that he has decommitted and will be exploring other opportunities.
Wahlstrom, a forward who is now 15, said in a text message that he didn’t feel comfortable talking about the situation.
The earliest he has been expected to join the Maine program was for the 2019-20 season.
The Yarmouth native is coming off a 114-point season for the Shattuck St. Mary’s bantam Tier 1 team based in Faribault, Minnesota. He had 68 goals and 46 assists in 65 games and was the team’s second-leading scorer.
He first gained notoriety as a 9-year-old with an eye-opening lacrosse-style goal during a televised Mini One-on-One competition between periods of a Boston Bruins game.
He laid his stick on the ice, controlled it on the blade of his stick and lifted his stick before doing a 360-degree turn and flipping the puck past the surprised goaltender.
A year later, he came up with another dazzling move in a Mini One-on-One when he dragged the puck behind him and between his legs before elevating his stick to shoulder level, moving it back and forth on the blade of his stick before flicking it into the net.
Wahlstrom played left wing on the top line at North Yarmouth Academy as a seventh grader and had 11 goals and 18 assists in 22 games.
His father was recruited by current Black Bear assistant Jay Leach and played at Maine during the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.
Gendron could not be reached for comment.