The University of Maine men’s hockey team has landed another forward from Todd Jenkins’ Compuware Midget Minor Elite Under-16 team in Michigan.
Austin Watson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound right winger, has verbally committed to attend Maine on a scholarship beginning in 2010. Watson’s linemate, center Stuart Higgins, had committed to Maine earlier.
Jenkins, who coaches the Compuware team, is a former Black Bear winger.
“Austin reminds me of David Capuano,” said Jenkins, referring to the former two-time first-team All-American at Maine. “He has great hands in traffic. He has soft hands. He can distribute the puck real well, and he’s a goal scorer. I expect him to be a first- or second-round NHL draft choice.”
“You can use him in every situation,” added Jenkins. “He sees the ice real well and plays well in the defensive zone.”
The 16-year-old Michigan native is fifth in the league in scoring with nine goals and 23 assists in 22 games.
Watson chose Maine over Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Michigan.
“I just really liked the way it is in Maine,” said Watson. “I liked the atmosphere. It seemed like a terrific atmosphere to play in.”
He said having his linemate and friend Higgins going to Maine was another factor in his decision.
Jenkins said both Watson and Higgins have been invited to the U.S. National Team Development Program’s camp next month and both have a good shot to earn roster spots on the USA Under-17 team next season.
Watson said he wants to spend the next two years “getting bigger, fine-tuning my game and shooting the puck a little more so I’ll be ready to step into a big role when I get to Maine.”
Watson’s coming to Maine is dependent upon his being accepted to the school and meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.