The Eagan, Minnesota native and an incoming freshman to the University of Maine Black Bears men’s ice hockey team took part in the Minnesota Wild’s development camp last week as a free agent invitee.
“It was really fun, it was a good experience being the hometown kid,” said Merchant.
It allowed him to get a taste of the speed of playing against older and more experienced competition, which he will face night in and night out in Hockey East.
“The pace was definitely faster then what I have been playing before,” Merchant added. “It was really helpful to me because that’s going to be the pace in a college hockey.The Wild wasted no time in inviting Merchant, one of 10 Mr. Hockey finalists as one of the top high school hockey players in the state of Minnesota, after he didn’t get drafted.
“The day after the draft I got a text and they invited me (to development camp),” Merchant stated.
“I was a little disappointed because I was getting my hopes up (of getting drafted). I am not going to let it affect me because it will make me work harder to get ready for college and prepare for the draft next year,” he said.
The 6-1, 180-pound forward had 25 goals, 27 assists this season with Eagan High School. Despite getting bounced out in the first round of the Minnesota State Tournament in March.
Merchant is eligible to be selected in the 2013 and 2014 drafts. If he’s still not drafted, he will become an unrestricted free agent when his college career ends.
He was the third incoming freshman to take part in an NHL Development camp. Devin Shore, a second round pick of the Dallas Stars and defenseman Ben Hutton, a fifth round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks each took part in their respective team’s development camps.
Pecararo not named to USA’s roster for the upcoming Five Nations Tournament:
2014 Maine recruit Liam Pecararo took part in the National Select-16 tournament in Rochester, N.Y., last week, but despite one goal and three assists in five games, he wasn’t named to the U-17 roster.
The 2012 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament takes place Aug. 7-11, in Chomutov, Kadan and Klasterec, Czech Republic.
Pecararo finished last season with 11 goals, 40 assists in 38 games in the Tier I Elite League with the Boston Advantages Under-18 team. He will spend next season with the Advantages for his third midget season, before moving to the Waterloo Blackhawks for the 2013-14 season, who drafted Pecararo 2nd overall in the USHL Futures Draft.
Local native named to Black Bears squad:
The University of Maine men’s ice hockey team is getting a late in-state recruit for next season.
Chris Howat, who led Bangor High School to the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals, will be the reserve goaltender for the Black Bears this season according the Bangor Daily News.
The 18-year old goalie had a 12-5 record with a 2.22 goals-against-average with a .880 save percentage.
He will be the second incoming freshman goaltender this season. Matt Morris, who spent the previous two seasons with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL, is also joining the Black Bears this season. The two veteran goaltenders on the Black Bear roster are Dan Sullivan and Martin Ouellette. Sullivan is heading into the season as the number one goalie as he went 22-11-3 last season with a 2.59 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. Ouellette came in as highly regarded as a seventh round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010. Last season he had a 1-3 record with a 3.42 goals against average and a .871 save percentage.
Howat was a finalist for Travis Roy Award, which is awarded to the best senior in Class A boys’ high school hockey that best exemplifies performance on-and-off the ice.