Maine Nordiques' Donte Pierre commits to Connecticut College

·6 min read

Jul. 3—Donte Pierre has become the latest Maine Nordiques player to make his college commitment for next season.

The 20-year-old forward from Brooklyn, New York has committed to Connecticut College, which plays in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, for next season.

Pierre only appeared in 19 regular-season games, recording one assist. He also played in three playoff games but didn't record any points.

"He's such a terrific young man and provided great depth for us all year," Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. "He's one of those guys you root for as a coach because he brought it every single day. He had a little bit of an unfortunate season because of injuries and things of that nature, which affected his total games played. At the end of the day, when a young man can move on and play collegiate hockey it's really rewarding."

Pierre was a free-agent invite to the main camp last summer and Howe was able to quickly connect with Pierre.

"We actually saw him the same time we saw (goalie) Ty Outen," Howe said. "Actually, funny story, he broke his stick in main camp and I ran down and let him borrow one of mine. From that point on, him and I hit it off. He went through the (main and training camp) process. He's one of those success stories as a free agent coming to camp and earning an opportunity."

Howe liked the power forward game Pierre plays and the speed he brought to the table in his one year with the Nordiques. Howe inserted Pierre in the lineup in the Game 2 loss against the Shreveport Mudbugs in the Robserston Cup semifinals because of the physical game Pierre plays.

Before joining the Nordiques, Pierre played three years at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire, where he was teammates with Nordiques defenseman Andrew Noel and recent tender signing Zach Whitehead.

Pierre joins a Camels team that played a limited schedule in 2020-21, going 4-0-1 in the regular season and 0-3 in exhibition games.

Pierre becomes the second player on the Nordiques to commit to an NCAA Division III school, joining defenseman Joey Foss, who will be playing at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls next season.

The Nordiques have seven other players committed to Division I schools for next season and beyond in Reese Farrell (Army), Tyler Gaulin (University of Maine), Isaiah Fox (Long Island University), Aidan Connolly (Sacred Heart University), Stefan Owens (University of Massachusetts-Lowell), Ignat Belov (University of Connecticut) and Patrick Schmiedlin (Colorado College).

This week, the North American Hockey League announced its regular season schedule for next year.

The Nordiques open the 56-game season in an NAHL East Division final rematch against the Maryland Black Bears on Sept. 24-25 in Odenton, Maryland. The home opener will be the following week when the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks come to The Colisee Oct. 1-2.

"The schedule was a lot of work and a lot of credit to our business department and management, they really worked hard on it," Howe said. "We are getting ready for the draft coming up in two weeks and we got our main camp (on July 16-18) and training camp is seven weeks away."

The longest homestand is six games, starting with a pair of games against the Jamestown Rebels on Dec. 10-11. The Rebels are returning to the league after sitting out this past season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The following week the New Jersey Titans come to Lewiston on Dec. 17-18. After the Christmas break, the Nordiques host Danbury for games on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Maine has a seven-game road trip against the Rebels, Johnstown Tomahawks, Danbury and the Northeast Generals from Jan. 28-Feb. 20.

The Thanksgiving week games also return to The Colisee when the Generals come to town on Tuesday, Nov. 23 and Wednesday, Nov. 24.

The home finale is April 9 against the Johnstown Tomahawks and the regular-season finale is April 17 against the Generals in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

The majority of the home games are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts, except for the Nov. 24 and March 20 games against the Generals, which are 1 p.m. starts.

Breakdown of games vs. each opponent: New Jersey (12), Northeast (12), Danbury (8), Jamestown (8), Johnstown (8), Maryland (8).

Dylan Grover of the Maine Nordiques Academy 16U team and Joseph Schaul of the 18U team took part in the Dubuque Fighting Saints main camp this week.

Schaul, the backup to Gus Holt, went 10-1 with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .929 this season with the 18U team. There are no stats available for Grover.

Neither made all-star games of Dubuque's main camp this week.

The Fighting Saints are a part of the Tier I United States Hockey League.

The Twin City Thunder recently announced Jim Mercier has joined the organization as the director of sales and marketing.

Mercier is no stranger to hockey in the Lewiston-Auburn area, most recently working at The Colisee as an assistant GM (2017-21) and box office manager (2004-2016). He also worked with the Maine Nordiques and L/A Fighting Spirit organizations helping out with the youth hockey programs.

"Jim's knowledge of Lewiston/Auburn and surrounding areas' business climate and numerous local contacts will benefit the growth of the Twin City Thunder organization," Thunder owner Dan Hodge said in a news release. "Jim's main focus will be sponsorship and corporate sales and helping the Twin City Thunder connect with local businesses."

Former Twin City Thunder coach Doug Friedman is returning to Boston University.

On Friday, BU's men's hockey team announced Friedman, who played for the Terriers from 1990-94, will be the team's director of hockey operations for the 2021-22 season.

Friedman, who is from Cape Elizabeth, was named the Thunder's first coach for the 2018-19 season when the organization had one team in the United States Premier Hockey League's Premier League. He was then named the coach for the Thunder team that plays in the USPHL's Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference but stepped down after the 2019-20 season, his lone season coaching the NCDC team. He went 47-39-8 in his two seasons with the Thunder.

"Doug is another former Terrier great as both a player and a person," BU coach Albie O'Connell said in a news release. "After reaching the NHL as a player, he returned to the sport a decade ago and has had some great experience along the way, most recently in the USPHL. His skillset and work ethic will enhance our program in many ways and the BU community will be excited to get yet another former captain on staff."

Friedman notched 43 goals and 61 assists in 149 games with BU and reached three Frozen Fours. An 11th-round NHL draft pick of the Quebec Nordiques in 1991, Friedman had a seven-year pro career from 1994-2001, including stints with the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators of the NHL. He was a member of the 1996-97 Hershey Bears that won the American Hockey League's Calder Cup.

Before joining the Thunder, he coached the boys hockey team at Kents Hill from 2014-18 and coached the Portland Junior Pirates in 2013-14.

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