Chase Pearson, son of former NHL winger Scott Pearson, has verbally committed to attend the University of Maine on a hockey scholarship.
The 17-year-old Pearson is expected to return to the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League for another season before coming to Maine in the fall of 2016.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Pearson played for Youngstown this past season and had 12 goals and 14 assists in 57 games.
Pearson, who grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia, had eight power-play goals as he served as the net front presence.
“He’s a big, strong two-way centerman,” said Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen. “He has elite hockey sense, and he’s great on faceoffs.”
Noreen said his team had a lot of highly skilled forwards such as former Black Bears player Ryan Lomberg, so they needed a shutdown, third-line center, and Pearson filled the role very effectively.
“He excelled in that role. He was responsible for the other team’s top line center, and there were a lot of NHL caliber centers in our league. He was playing a role as a 17-year-old that is usually played by guys who are 19 and 20 years old,” said Noreen. “It speaks volumes to his character and how versatile he is. He never complained about it. He loved it. And he played on the first power play unit on a team with a very good power play.”
“He may have been the best shutdown center at his age in the league,” said Phantoms assistant and former Black Bears captain John Ronan. “He was the type of player who would win a big face-off in the last minute of a game.”
“That brought out a different side of my game that I needed, and it will help me in the future,” said Pearson.
Noreen and Ronan both expect Pearson to have a bigger role offensively next season.
“He will be a top two line centerman,” said Noreen, who noted that Pearson was recruited by several other prominent Division I schools and expects him to be drafted later this month.
Pearson said he is excited about coming to Maine and said he knew associate head coach Jay Leach from Leach’s days coaching the AAA Thunder in the south, and he feels Maine has a “top-notch coaching staff.”
Pearson’s father played in 292 NHL games for five different teams.
Pearson’s coming to Maine is contingent upon his acceptance into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.