Two sons of college athletes have verbally committed to attend the University of Maine on hockey scholarships.
Defenseman Malcolm Hayes, whose father, Mark, played football at the University of Texas-El Paso and Howard University, and center Patrick Shea, whose dad, Neil, played hockey at Boston College, will be Black Bears pending their acceptance into the school and their meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.
Hayes will begin his career at Maine next fall while Shea won’t come to Maine until at least the 2015-16 season.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hayes is a native of Atlanta and is currently playing at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass. while the 5-10, 180-pound Shea is playing for Marshfield (Mass.) High School where he is a junior.
Cushing coach Ron Gagnon said Hayes is a hard-nosed, shutdown defenseman and added “I don’t think there’s an ounce of body fat on him.
“He is so physically gifted, the sky is the limit for him,” said Gagnon. “When he goes into the corner, he comes out with just about every puck. He’s a good skater with a heavy shot and he can make that first pass to get the puck out of your zone.”
Gagnon said Hayes has four goals and five assists in 15 games and he will supply Maine with a defenseman that opposing forwards “won’t want to go into the corner with.
“And if they go to the front of the net, he’ll make them feel it,” said Gagnon.
Hayes said he chose Maine for a number of reasons.
“I definitely liked the rink. It’s small and I loved the atmosphere at the [Boston College] game,” said Hayes. “They definitely have pride in their hockey tradition.”
He was also impressed with the coaching staff of head coach Red Gendron and assistants Jay Leach and Ben Guite and their resumes.
“They’re straight-forward guys who will help me reach my ultimate goal of playing in the NHL,” said the 18-year-old Hayes, whose father is now an NBC-5 Today early-morning news co-anchor in Dallas.
Shea, according to Marshfield High coach Dan Connolly, is a “very intelligent player who is one of the most defensively-responsible forwards I’ve ever had here. He is a very fundamentally sound player.
“His best attribute is his vision. He can also put up numbers. He’s averaging three points a game,” pointed out Connolly. “He is our top penalty-killer and we run our power play through him.”
Connolly noted that Shea has significantly improved his skating and has a good shot.
“He is more of a passer than a shooter but his shot is very accurate and he does two things a lot of kids don’t do: He has his head up every time he shoots and he follows his shot. He doesn’t curl off,” said Connolly.
Shea said one of the things that attracted him to Maine was the aggressive, in-your-face style of play employed by Gendron and his coaching staff.
“I love that style. That’s how I like to play,” said Shea. “I also really liked the coaches and the school. It wasn’t a hard decision. I knew what I wanted to do.”
The 16-year-old Shea, who is one of the team captains as a junior, has eight goals and 13 assists in seven games.
He is looking to attend a prep school next season.
His father, Neil, who played at BC from 1982-86, is a scout for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
Hayes and Shea both said they would like to improve their speed between now and the time they step on the Orono campus.