The University of Maine men’s hockey team has received a verbal commitment from winger A.J. Drobot, who plays for the New Jersey Rockets’ independent under-19 junior team.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Drobot, who will turn 16 in April, will be a scholarship player and is expected to join Maine’s program beginning in the fall of 2016.
Drobot is the Rockets’ leading scorer with 32 goals and 18 assists for 50 points in 42 games.
“He plays very big for his size,” said Rockets general manager and head coach Bob Thornton. “He’s strong on the puck, strong on his skates and has a great release on his shot. His shot is hard and heavy and he’s always going into the dirty areas looking for rebounds.”
Thornton said he more than holds his own against players two and three years older.
“He’s not the tallest guy out there, but he’s strong and he’ll give a hit and take a hit. He’s always the first guy going into the corners,” said Thornton.
Drobot plays in all situations for the Rockets.
Thornton also said Drobot is “very mature on and off the ice.”
Drobot, a native of Churchville, Pa., said he is excited about going to Maine.
“I can’t wait,” said Drobot, who chose Maine over several other Division I schools.
“It’s a perfect fit between the hockey and the academics,” said Drobot. “I was sold the minute I stepped foot on the campus.
“And coach (Red) Gendron has a great history (of success) everywhere he has coached,” added Drobot. “I’m very happy with my decision.”
Drobot participated in the USA Select 15 Festival last July and is hoping to land a spot on the United States National Team Development Program’s Under-17 team next season.
Thornton said in addition to that option, Drobot could also be drafted to play in the United States (Junior) Hockey League or move up to play for the Rockets’ Eastern Junior Hockey League team.
Drobot said he needs to get stronger and intends to work on “all parts of my game, defense and offense.”
Drobot’s participation at UMaine is contingent upon his being accepted into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.