It was quite a weekend for Connor Androlewicz.

The St. Louis, Missouri-born, 18-year-old goaltender who has spent the past two years at the Holdeness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire made two crucial stops off I-95 North to secure where he will continue his hockey career. The first stop was Friday in Lewiston, where he signed a tender contract with the Maine Nordiques — which the team officially announced on Monday — to become the first player to sign with the new North American Hockey League franchise, which was unveiled two weeks ago.

“The Colisee is unbelievable, it’s really a nice rink, to have a gym and they have a pretty nice set up in the locker room,” Androlewicz said. “The best thing I like about the program the most is, from what I heard from Cam (Robichaud) and their assistant, was the fact they are trying to get away from the cutthroat type of mentality in junior hockey. If you don’t perform or you don’t win then you aren’t going to play or be on the team type of deal.”

He added the organization will hold the players accountable and the organization does want to to win, but the team wants to make sure they are healthy mentally and physically.

Androlewicz continued his trek north and made a stop in Orono for the weekend, where he saw the University of Maine men’s hockey team defeat Boston University and gave his verbal commitment to the school, starting in the 2020-21 season at the earliest.

“As soon as I got on campus, I felt like I was at home, they made me very included,” Androlewicz said. “They had a very good sense of community and that’s something I am use to. I go to Holderness and community is everything there. It was a really good feeling where I am going to college is going to be just the same where I went to for high school. Having a sense of community and everyone is buying in and working for that common goal.”

He said he took school and facility tours while in Orono, then watched the pregame skate on Friday and the goalies practice Saturday before watching the game later that night. After the game is when Maine offered him a scholarship to play.

Androlewicz committing to Maine is what Cam Robichaud, the Director of Player Recruitment and Player Advancement for the Nordiques organization, hopes begins a pipeline to the state’s flagship school.

“We were privy to the information that he was going to sign with Maine. We thought it would be great to have a goaltender at the Tier II level come in and play right in the home state of his college program,” Robichaud said. “We’ve had multiple conversations already with (Maine assistant coaches) Alfie Michaud and Ben Guite and we look to build a relationship with them — move guys on to them. (We want) to have recruits playing here so they can keep tabs on them.”

Androlewicz said the Black Bears’ coaching staff was ecstatic when he told them that he had just signed to play for the Nordiques next year.

A tender contract means no team in the NAHL can sign him or select him in the upcoming draft in June. Robichaud said the team has other players signed to tender contracts, but said it made sense to announce Androlewicz first because of his commitment to Maine.

The netminder stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 190 pounds. During the 2017-18 season at Holderness he had a 3.28 goals-against-average and a .904 save percentage. This year, Androlewicz said he had a .927 save percentage. Other stats weren’t available.

Androlewicz has a relationship with a member of the Nordiques, but Robichaud still had to put his recruiting hat on. Robichaud saw Androlewicz on Wednesday when the L/A Nordiques went down to play the Northeast Generals. Androlewicz was practicing with the Generals’ NAHL team. Robichaud spoke to him last Thursday and said they were interested in signing him to to a tender. Androlewicz then decided to go back to the Generals’ arena to pick up his gear to sign with the Nordiques.

Robichaud likes Androlewicz’s mindset.

“He moves very well, he’s fast, he’s athletic. The thing I like about him most is he has a pro mentality,” Robichaud said. “He’s a guy that’s focused in the gym, eats well, does all the right things. He’s a strong student. One of the first questions he asked me: ‘Do we have, or do we have the ability to get, a sports psychologist coach here?’ It just showed how serious and how focused he kind of is.”

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