Cushing Academy defenseman Malcolm Hayes announced his commitment to the University of Maine on Tuesday. The Atlanta, Ga. native is in his first season at the Ashburnham, Mass. prep school after playing three seasons for the New Hampton School.
Hayes is a six-foot-three blue liner with huge potential at both ends of the ice, but will most likely be best known at the collegiate level for his shutdown ability and physicality in the defensive zone.
"Malcolm has a ton of potential and has a high ceiling for improvement as he is physically far ahead of other players his age. He is big, strong and fast. He is very physical in the corners and in front of the net," said Cushing coach Rob Gagnon.
Maine associate head coach Jay Leach was the primary recruiter for the Black Bears in their pursuit of the athletic, hard-working Hayes.
"He is very athletic. On top of that he loves hockey and learning the game is something he works hard at," said Gagnon, a former player at the University of New Hampshire.
Hayes began to attract serious NCAA interest after his showing in the Beantown Classic in Marlboro, Mass. The '95 is expected to arrive in Orono this fall, but could be pushed back to play a year of juniors. Hayes spent time with the Junior Bruins U18 team this fall.
Gagnon said the entire Cushing program is proud of Hayes' accomplishment. "Malcolm is a great kid. We are excited about him committing to UMaine."
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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.