In a direct about-face from previous comments that they were staying for their senior years at Maine, Blair Allison and Jeff Tory have now decided to try out for the Canadian National Team. Both players have been All-Hockey East selections the past two years. Tory was also a First Team East All-American in 1995-96. Both are considered to be odds-on favorites to make the Canadian team.
Tory and Allison had recently been quoted that they would be staying, citing loyalty to the Black Bear program. However, the lure of the national team and the exposure it would provide for their future professional careers proved too tempting to pass up.
Their likely departures follow those of Brett Clark to the Western Hockey League Brandon Wheat Kings, Tim Lovell to the UMass-Amherst Minutemen, and Brad Mahoney to the Northeastern Huskies.
The University of Maine has appealed the NCAA-mandated postseason ban that set into motion these defections. The outcome of the appeal, however, was not expected in time for the players to still have alternative opportunities in the event that the appeal failed.