Brandon Holt, a 20-year-old defenseman from Grand Forks, North Dakota, who plays for the North America Hockey League’s New Mexico Ice Wolves, has verbally committed to play hockey at the University of Maine next fall.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Holt had six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 53 games for the Ice Wolves last season and is playing with them again this season. He had two goals and two assists in 50 games for New Mexico during the 2019-20 season.

He will be a scholarship player.

UMaine has two graduate students and two seniors among its 10 defensemen on this season’s roster so he will be vying for a top six slot on the blue line next season.

Holt said there were several reasons behind his decision to attend UMaine.

He said he really liked first-year head coach Ben Barr and assistant Jason Fortier and the fact UMaine plays in one of the best conferences in college hockey in Hockey East.

He also said growing up in Grand Forks, he has always followed college hockey and knows UMaine is steeped in hockey tradition.

UMaine has won two NCAA championships and appeared in 11 Frozen Fours and 18 NCAA Tournaments, although it hasn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since the 2011-12 season.

“I don’t see why they can’t get back to where they were in their prime,” said Holt, who feels Barr and his staff can return the program to elite status and said he wants to be part of it.

“Maine is getting a good one,” said New Mexico head coach and general manager Phil Fox of Holt.

“He is a two-way defenseman who has the ability to shut down teams’ top lines as well as put up points in the offensive zone. He sees the game extremely well and the best thing about him is his complete effort every day.”

Fox also said Holt has a heavy shot and does a great job getting pucks in the net.

“He can skate and uses that to join in the rush. He will improve every year. Maine is going to have a great student and a great hockey player at the end of four years,” Fox said.

Holt said he is excited about the opportunity and intends to work on his strength and skating as he prepares for his college career.

Holt’s coming to UMaine is contingent upon him being accepted into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.