Maine Hockey Journal

14-year old Pecararo commits to Maine

The North Dakota series meant more than just four points for the University of Maine men’s ice team. It’s started a domino effect on the next wave of future Black Bears. Not only did they receive a verbal commitment from Ryan Cloonan of the Boston Advantages, but also his linemate, Liam Pecararo as both were visiting the Maine campus that weekend

Liam Pecararo is just 14-years old and will enter Maine in the fall of 2014. The 1996 born forward is the first player in his age group to make a college hockey commitment and is the youngest player ever to commit to Maine.

“I like everything about it,” Pecararo said of his recruiting trip last month. “I liked how professional the coaches were and the campus.”

Boston Advantages Owner and Head Coach of the Midget Major team Tim Lovell said he’s the elite of the elite.

“He’s a top five kid in the country right now,” Lovell said. “Obviously, he will need to work on different parts of his game. He needs to continue to get better.”

He has excelled playing on the Advantages Minor Midget team with six goals and 19 assists for 25 points.

“I move the puck. I skate pretty well. I see the ice well,” Pecararo stated. “I can score goals, but I like setting up other guys too.”

“He can both play center and wing,” Lovell said. “He has a high skill level and intellect. He sees the ice well, makes the players around him better.”

He has also seen time with the Midget Major team, playing with and against kids three-four years older than him. In eleven games he has a goal and ten assists.

Lovell lists him at 5’8, but said he’s about to hit his growth spurt.

“He needs to grow into his body. He’s just starting to grow now. He obviously filling out and needs to get stronger. Those will be the key ingredients to his game.”

Like the other players from the Boston Advantage program, he sat down with Lovell, who played his college hockey at Maine for three years before playing his senior year at Massachusetts when Maine received NCAA sanctions in the mid-90’s.

“He didn’t force me to go there, he told me a lot about it,” Pecararo said.

Over time Liam learned about the University.

“We had Liam since he was six years old, he has done skill development with us,” Lovell said “The University of Maine to be honest has been a dream of his. Since being his skills coach, it’s been a big part of him when looking at schools.”

Maine hasn’t had much success with dealing with young players keeping their commitment to the University.

The school has had plenty of players commit only to decide otherwise such as play major junior hockey. Players like Nashville Predators 2010 first round selection Austin Watson, who joined the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) and won a Memorial Cup. He now plays for the Peterborough Petes (OHL). Other players include Kevin Gagne (Saint John, QMJHL), Darcy Ashley (Halifax, QMJHL), and Brandon Francisco (Sarnia, OHL), who all de-committed before they were 17-years old.

Pecararo doesn’t see his mind changing.

“Everything blew me away, the atmosphere, there’s nothing like that down in Boston,” Pecararo strongly stated. “I felt most comfortable there.”

Lovell notes when he was a teenager, there were no programs like the Boston Advantages around to speed up player development and the recruiting process.

“If the University of Maine doesn’t go after Liam Pecararo, four or five other schools are going to get them,” Lovell added. “At the end of the day, someone is going to get him.”

Major Junior is part of the reason why colleges are looking these young kids.

“The major junior drafts is so early, 15-16 years old, at the end of the day everyone is the same game,” said Lovell. “Colleges now realize, if we wait, the kid will go to major juniors. Everything has dramatically changed”

As an elite player, he’s on USA Hockey’s radar for their National Team Development Program as he already received a brochure from them about the program. He still has 18 months before he knows if he will heading to Ann Arbor, Michigan where the program trains.

“He will play here for another year and after that, I think he makes the jump,” Lovell said. “Probably to junior hockey, it could be the Eastern Junior Hockey League. It could be the NTDP, or the USHL. He (has) options coming up.”

Although Pecararo and Ryan Cloonan are good friends, it wasn’t about playing together in college.

“We didn’t really talk to each other about – “we should both go there,” Pecararo said. “We knew were similar, we knew we both had the same interest. He felt the same way about Maine (as me).”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply