When I spoke with Maryland Black Bears owner Murry Gunty early in the season, he mentioned to me that the goal of the Maryland Black Bears was to give area players a chance to play closer to home and keeping the mid-Atlantic talent in the mid-Atlantic rather than have those players migrate to the Northeast and beyond.
In one of the two tender signings that happened yesterday, it seems that the vision is continuing to take shape as the Black Bears announced that Finn McLain of Woodbridge, Virginia had signed his tenure with the Black Bears. The other tender signed was that of defenseman Nick Hauck of Ham Line, Minnesota, as the Twin Cities region becomes a pipeline for the Black Bears, as well, with Hauck joining Luke Posner (Mahtomedi), Max Borst (Edina), and Luke Mountain (Woodbury) as players from the Twin Cities region to sign with the Black Bears.
For Hauck, he had a breakout year with Blaine High School notching 28 assists and 31 points for the Bengals, as well as three assists in the state tournaments– despite coming up short to Edina in the championship game. Hauck only had two assists in his previous two seasons with the Bengals and this season could be the jumping off point he needs for his future.
However, with the McLain signing, it adds to the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) feel to the Black Bears roster. McLain will join George Vonakis (Abingdon) and Andrew Takacs (Bowie) as local players to be signed with the Black Bears. Of course, you may not see a landslide of players over the off-season or into the next off-season, but what the Black Bears are doing with the local players will have an effect down the line– especially as the younger Team Maryland teams are able to get immersed into the NAHL game and see where the alumni head off to after their tenure in the league.
Now, before you start checking stats– yes, McLain was born in Honolulu, Hawaii– but he grew up in Woodbridge, went to Woodbridge High, and played in the Washington Little Caps system before going to the Kent School in New Jersey. McLain has the size at 6’0 and 205 at 19 years old, but the question is what his role would be. While he’s not overly offensive by the looks of his stats, but at the same time– his size could create him some space and perhaps give him more opportunities.
While there’s only the spoiler role to play, the Black Bears are looking to the future– not only in the immediate setting, but maybe in the future setting as a pillar for mid-Atlantic hockey players.