Levi Kleiboer, a heady defenseman with good offensive skills, has verbally committed to attend the University of Maine on a hockey scholarship.

The 5-foot-11, 161-pound native of Martensville, Saskatchewan, who plays for the Battlefords North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, just earned a roster spot for Canada West in the annual World Junior A Challenge Tournament in Truro, Nova Scotia, later this month.

Brandon Heck, the general manager and coach of the Battlefords North Stars, said Kleiboer’s inclusion on the Canada West team is impressive. Canada West includes players from the British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Superior International Junior Hockey Leagues.

“He is as good a defenseman as there is in this league,” said Heck. “He plays a ton of minutes. He is a puck-moving defenseman with incredible poise. He never throws the puck away. He can makes plays, he sees the middle of the ice and he makes his defense partner better.”

Heck added that Kleiboer is a good skater and an intelligent player who is always thinking.

“He’s a good skater. He isn’t overly physical but he has a good stick. He can anticipate and jump guys. And he has good gap control,” said Heck. “He never wastes a play.”

Kleiboer has six goals and 18 assists in 21 games for the North Stars this season after notching 3 & 29 in 55 games a year ago.

Kleiboer said his decision to come to UMaine was based on the coaching staff’s interest in him.

“They were the most interested in me and multiple coaches (from UMaine) called me,” said Kleiboer. “I thought I would fit in perfectly at Maine.”

Heck and Kleiboer both said the area of his game he needs to improve is his strength.

“I want to get stronger and work on my defensive game,” said Kleiboer.

“He’s strong for his weight but, for that level, he needs to put on 15 pounds,” said Heck, who added that Kleiboer spends time improving his game after practice.

“He comes from a hardworking family. Nothing has been given to him,” said Heck.

Kleiboer’s participation at UMaine is contingent upon his being accepted into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.

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