The University of Maine men’s hockey program will have a definite void at the center position with the graduation of Tanner House and Robby Dee, its top two centers.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead and his staff have addressed that need by landing John Parker, who captained the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Parker has verbally committed to attend Maine next fall.
He had originally committed to attend the University of Massachusetts two years ago but changed his mind.
“He’s going to step in and be a good player from day one,” said Muskegon owner Josh Mervis, who was a graduate assistant coach at Maine during 1995-96.
“He will be a solid two-way player,” continued Mervis. “He skates at an elite level. He’s very fast. He moves the puck well and he is very difficult and unpleasant to play against.”
Parker had nine goals and 22 assists in 58 games for the first-year franchise after playing two seasons for Indiana in the USHL.
He concluded his USHL career with 14 goals and 41 assists in 147 career games.
Mervis said Parker is an excellent penalty killer and is a “really good faceoff man” who reminds him of former Black Bear center Dan Shermerhorn when it comes to faceoffs.
Mervis said Parker has a “great work ethic” and he feels he will eventually become a goal scorer.
“He shoots the puck very well. I think the goal scoring will come. It’s a matter of confidence,” said Mervis.
The 19-year-old Parker is a native of Green Brook, N.J.
Parker had a goal and an assist in six playoff games this season and Mervis said, “he was our best player in the playoffs.
“I’m thrilled he’s going to Maine,” said Mervis.
Patrick told the Maine Hockey Journal he expected to return to Muskegon “but a (scholarship) offer from Maine is indescribable. When that jumps in front of you, you can’t say no. It’s a top program in the collegiate level and it was an easy decision for me.”
He said he “didn’t see eye to eye anymore” with the UMass coaching staff and decided it would be “better to part ways.”
His coming to Maine is contingent upon his acceptance into the school and his meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.