ORONO, Maine — University of Maine men’s hockey coach Red Gendron has addressed the need to add size and grit to his defense corps.
Mark Hamilton, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenseman playing for the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, has verbally committed to attend Maine next fall.
The 19-year-old Hamilton, who is from Winthrop, Mass., had initially committed to attend UMass but decommitted. He will be a scholarship player.
Five of Maine’s eight current defensemen are 6 feet tall or smaller.
Hamilton currently has three goals and an assist in 15 games for the Vipers after spending the previous three years playing for the Salisbury School in Connecticut. He had two goals and seven assists a year ago as Salisbury captured the New England Prep School Athletic Council championship.
Vipers coach and general manager Jason Williamson said Hamilton will make an immediate impact.
“He is a big, rugged throwback defenseman,” said Williamson. “The skilled guys [on opposing teams] aren’t going to want to be out there when he’s on the ice. He also does a good job getting pucks to the net.”
He said Hamilton is a good skater for a big man, has a good shot and plays with an edge.
Hamilton said he decommitted from UMass because the head coach who recruited him, Don “Toot” Cahoon, resigned after the 2011-12 season.
Hamilton said he had talked to some other schools, including some Ivy League schools, but chose Maine because “it has a lot of hockey tradition and I like the coaching staff.
“Coach Gendron recruited me when he was at UMass and Yale and I really like him. And coach [Ben] Guite came and watched me play out here and seemed like a great guy. I liked everything he said about the school.
“I can’t wait to get there,” added Hamilton, whose family owns a gym and whose mother, Marie, is a personal trainer.
“I work out with her over the summer,” said Hamilton.
Coaches aren’t allowed to talk about players who verbally commit and his coming to Maine will be contingent upon his acceptance into school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.