David Breazeale had the University of Maine at the top of his wish list for schools he wanted to attend and play hockey for.
He will get that chance.
The 6-foot-4 215-pound defenseman will be coming to UMaine this fall after he helped lead Louisiana’s Shreveport Mudbugs to the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup championship.
He had originally committed to play at Lindenwood University in Missouri, which plays in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
That league isn’t affiliated with the NCAA, but Lindenwood will be making the move up to NCAA Division I hockey beginning in the 2022-23 season.
He de-committed to Lindenwood and will attend UMaine on a partial scholarship. He has also earned some academic scholarship money, he said.
“When I first started looking at Division I programs, Maine was at the top of my list. The history of the program and the conference they play in are exceptional,” Breazeale said.
“I’m really excited. It’s like a dream come true.”
Breazeale played in 54 regular season games for the Mudbugs and collected five goals and 16 assists. He had 30 penalty minutes and was plus-28 in plus-minus, which awards a player a plus-one if he is on the ice when his team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal and a minus-one if the other team scores one.
He had a goal and four assists and was plus-five in 10 playoff games.
UMaine will have a first-year head coach in former University of Massachusetts associate head coach Ben Barr, who replaced the late Red Gendron. Gendron collapsed and died on the Penobscot Valley Country Club golf course in Orono on April 9.
UMass won the national title this past season.
The 21-year-old Breazeale, a native of Jenison, Michigan, said he has been impressed by Barr, the coaching staff and the players. He feels the program is going to make strides and wants to be a part of it.
“I am going to learn so much from Coach Barr. He has coached a lot of great players. And I’m also going to learn a lot from the players,” he said.
He considers himself a defensive-minded defenseman.
“I take pride in my ability to defend,” said Breazeale who wants to put on more muscle and “work on my speed and footwork. This is going to be a big jump for me.”
Shreveport coach Jason Campbell said UMaine is not only going to get a good hockey player, but a tremendous human being and a quality leader.
He played three seasons with the Mudbugs and was a captain for the last two years on the team.
“He is consistent and he has gotten better every year. He will continue to improve,” Shreveport coach Jason Campbell said.
“He added more physicality to his game this year and it helped him improve. He has a metal toughness that is hard to find. He has good feet and he can carry the puck. He is aware of what he is doing on the ice. He’s a good penalty-killer,” Campbell said. “I have paired him with less experienced defensemen and that has hurt his offense. He has a good shot.”
“And he will be a great locker room guy,” Campbell added.