Martin Kariya, the 17-year old younger brother of Hobey Baker winner Paul, and current Maine forward Steve, has verbally committed to play hockey for the Black Bears, the Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday.
The 5-foot-7, 157-pound Kariya, currently with the Victoria Salsa of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, selected Maine over Harvard and Denver.
“I felt that I could develop the most at Maine,” said Kariya, who is among the BCJHL’s top scorers with 14 goals and 56 assists in 41 games. “I already knew Maine had a great coaching staff. And when I was down there for my visit, I felt their program was much better than most colleges.”
“Martin is very creative with the puck. He has great offensive talent,” said Salsa head coach Campbell Blair, himself a former Maine defenseman. “He has good speed and sees the ice well, like all of the Kariyas. His limiting factors are his size and strength, but those will improve as the years go on. He’s a very committed player.”
Kariya expressed caution about his ability to contribute early.
“I’ll be coming to a team that is currently ranked second in the country. They may be losing their top scorer, but they’ve got a pretty good corps of players coming back. It’ll be hard to crack one of the top lines. We’ll see next year.”
Paul Kariya, currently the NHL’s top scorer with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, is the only freshman to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, doing so while leading Maine to the 1993 NCAA title. Paul’s younger brother Steve, a senior, is Maine’s leading scorer this year, and has over 150 points for his career. Additionally, sister Noriko, a sophomore, currently plays for Maine’s field hockey squad.