READING, Mass. — University of Maine first-year head coach Red Gendron and his coaching staff have landed their first hockey recruit.
Left wing Nolan Vesey, the Most Valuable Player in the Central Catholic League for Austin Prep, has verbally committed to attend Maine beginning in the fall of 2014.
Vesey was the Cougars’ leading scorer with 18 goals and 13 assists, and he led them to a berth in the IA state finals where they were beaten by Malden Catholic 3-2. He was a captain and scored both goals in the loss.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Vesey is the son of Jim Vesey, who is Merrimack College’s all-time leading scorer with 244 points in 140 games. His father had 417 points in 376 games in the IHL and AHL and had a brief stint in the NHL. Nolan’s older brother, Jim, tied for the goal-scoring lead at Harvard as a freshman with 11 this past season and is a third-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators.
“Nolan is a pure goal scorer and those are hard to find,” Austin Prep coach Lou Finocchiaro, a former Merrimack College assistant, told the BDN Tuesday night. “He has a big upside. He is a very skilled hockey player. He’ll do things in practice and in games that will leave you with your mouth wide open. He sees the ice real well and he led our power play and our penalty killing. He’s a good skater with tremendous hands. He’s very crafty below the faceoff dots.”
Nolan Vesey, who will be a scholarship player, said he chose Maine over several other schools, including Hockey East schools.
“Coach Gendron is a great coach with an unbelievable track record. That made the decision easy for me,” said Vesey. “And the hockey program has such a rich history.”
He also said he “fell in love with the school” on his visit.
“I want to win a national championship and go on to play in the NHL, and Maine is the best place to do both of those things,” added the 18-year-old Vesey, who will play for the South Shore Kings of the United States Premier Hockey League next season and intends to work on his speed and strength.
“I want to continue my development so I can make an impact my freshman year,” said Vesey.
His coming to Maine is contingent upon his acceptance into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.