The University of Maine men’s hockey team will have three Swedish players next season after receiving verbal commitments from a goaltender and a right winger who have Swedish national team experience.
Goalie Pontus Hansson and right wing Theo Andersson will join forward Gustav Nyquist with the Black Bears in the fall.
Nyquist, who has played for the Swedish Under-18 and Under-17 teams, has already signed a National Letter of Intent.
Hansson and Andersson play for Frolunda in the Swedish Under-20 Elite league while Nyquist plays for Malmo in the same league.
Their coming to Maine is contingent upon their acceptance into the school and passing NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.
Hansson will battle incoming freshman Scott Darling for the goaltending job vacated by All-Hockey East second-teamer Ben Bishop, who passed up his senior year to sign with the St. Louis Blues. The Blues drafted him in the third round.
The 6-2, 185-pound Hansson had a 1.54 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage through 20 games for Frolunda while Andersson, who is 5-11, 168 pounds, had 17 goals and 24 assists in 41 games.
The 20-year-old Hansson has played for the Swedish Under-17 team and Andersson, who is 18, has played for the Under-16 team.
“I’ve heard many good things about Maine,” said Hansson. “It seems to be a very good place to be, especially if you’re a goalie.”
Maine has had eight goalies play in the NHL over the past 20 years.
Hansson described himself as an aggressive “butterfly-style goalie” who likes to “challenge the shooters.”
He knows the goaltending job is open and there will be a good opportunity to earn significant playing time.
“I’m hoping to be the No. 1 goalie. I don’t know how hard it is going to be [for a first-year player] but I’m going for it,” added Hansson, who is excited about coming to Maine.
He said the Bears are getting a quality winger in Andersson.
“He’s a really good player. He scores goals all the time,” said Hansson. “He’s fast, he’s a good stickhandler and he’s dangerous in front of the net.”
Andersson will help fill the void left by the departure of players who produced 50.6 percent of Maine’s goals and 54.8 percent of Maine’s assists this past season.
Bears name co-captains
Defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin and center-right wing Jeff Marshall, who are both juniors, have been chosen as co-captains for next season in a vote among the players and coaches.
The 19-year-old Danis-Pepin, who was the youngest player on the Maine team for the third straight year, had four goals and eight assists in 34 games while Marshall had 5 & 6 in 34 games.
Maine went 13-18-3 overall 9-15-3 in Hockey East, and finished ninth in the conference.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead said both players deserved the honor.
“They did a great job this past season. They are both very hard workers and they lead by example,” said Whitehead.