New Hampshire Junior Monarchs captain Brice O’Connor, the Eastern Junior Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year, has verbally committed to attend Maine next fall.
He had originally committed to attend Providence College where his brother Ian will be a senior left wing next season.
But he de-committed and eventually decided on Maine.
“I’m pumped about coming to Maine. It’s going to be a good time,” said the 5-foot-11, 190-pound O’Connor, who will turn 20 next month. “The biggest thing about Maine is they have so many of my former [Monarch] teammates there, so the transition will be real easy.”
O’Connor de-committed from Providence after seeking a better scholarship package from them because two of his brothers are also playing college hockey, according to Sean Tremblay, head coach and general manager of the Junior Monarchs.
Maine came through with a better package, said Tremblay.
“Brice handled it like a man,” said Tremblay.
There will be eight former Monarchs on Maine’s roster.
“I know [assistant] coach [Bob] Corkum and I played with Kelen a long time ago,” said O’Connor, referring to Corkum’s son.
O’Connor also said he was impressed with head coach Tim Whitehead and associate head coach Dan Kerluke.
“It seems like a great fit for me. It’s going to be a great place to be,” said O’Connor, who had six goals and 28 assists in 44 games along with 119 penalty minutes. His 28 assists led all EJHL defensemen.
“Brice is a tremendous skater. He has amazing mobility,” Tremblay said. “He also brings a physical element into the defensive zone or can put somebody down on the rush. He’s a tough, tough kid.”
Tremblay said O’Connor makes smart, precise passes and he can also lug the puck out of the defensive zone. His puck-handling ability has improved dramatically, he said.
“And he has taken his offensive game to another level,” said Tremblay. “He has a lot of poise with the puck.”
Tremblay called O’Connor a tremendous leader and a hard worker who should make an immediate impact.
O’Connor’s playing at Maine is dependent upon his acceptance into school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.