Derek Arnold said he has wanted to be a University of Maine Black Bear since he was a youngster.
He is getting his wish.
The Foxboro, Mass. native has verbally committed to attend Maine on a hockey scholarship beginning in 2009.
“I’m ecstatic. I had my heart set on Maine the whole time. My dad used to coach the Walpole Junior Stars [in the Eastern Junior Hockey League] and they would send a player or two to Maine every year. I always connected with the players and followed [their progress],” explained the 17-year-old Arnold.
The right wing/center had 38 goals and 39 assists in 43 games for the Boston Junior Bruins in the Empire League this past season.
He said he talked to several schools but was impressed with Maine’s “coaching staff, campus and the [successful] history of the program.” He also said he prefers a more rural atmosphere like Foxboro and Orono to living in a city.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Arnold will play for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the prestigious United States Hockey League the next two years.
“He’s an exciting player,” said Cedar Rapids coach and general manager Mark Carlson, who formerly played at UMass Lowell. “He has excellent speed. He has the ability to make plays and score goals. He’s tenacious. He’s aggressive on the puck.
“They’re going to love him in Orono,” said Carlson.
Arnold said he intends to work on his strength, particularly his legs, and do everything he can to help Cedar Rapids win the Clark Cup given to the league’s playoff champion.
His coming to Maine will be dependent upon his admission into the school and meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.