Cole Ouellette, left, of the Maine Nordiques and Liam McCanney of the Northeast Generals compete for the puck during a game last season in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Cole Ouellette is moving on from junior hockey with the Maine Nordiques to college hockey at Fitchburg State University, a Division III program in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The Falcons showed the the most interest in him.

“I had a couple of options for school and they were the most communicative with me and showed the most interest in me right off the start,” Ouellette said. “They wanted me there as much as I want to be there. It just seemed like a really good fit and I think they had 15 freshmen last year, so it’s good I am going on a team that’s young and we can build off of.”

Ouellette said interest in him started to pick up as the season ended because of the coronavirus, and the Fitchburg State coaching staff reached out to the Nordiques staff to see what Cole’s plans were for the 2020-21 season. Ouellette was unsure what he was going to do for next season, but knew Fitchburg was going to be the right fit when he started talking to him.

The Lewiston native, who made the Maine Nordiques’ inaugural roster, becomes the sixth 20-year-old on the team to commit to play college hockey for the upcoming season. He joins Noah Kane (Mercyhurst University, Division I)Trent Grimshaw (Oswego State, Division III)Ethan Prout (Williams College, Division III)Timmy Kent (Curry College, Division III) and Kevin Pitts (Utica College, Division III) as the others.

Ouellette led all Nordiques defenseman with 30 points (five goals and 25 assists) in 48 games.

Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said Ouellette has a big heart.

“He’s really a giver of himself and it’s the way he plays the game too,” Howe said. “He always distributes the puck, and he’s very thoughtful throughout his process. I have a ton of respect for Cole as a young man and I am really proud of him. As he continues to mature and develop, I still think he has a lot of hockey ahead of him. I think he will continue to entertain fans with his style of play and as the game continues to progress, I think he’s in the forefront of the puck-moving defensemen that the future will be built on.”

Maine Nordiques’ Cole Ouellette, a Lewiston native, carries the puck up the ice while being harassed by Fairbanks’ Oliver Kjaer during a game Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston during the 2019-20 season. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Ouellette believes the jump from the Tier III North American 3 Hockey League, where he spent 2017-19 with the L/A Nordiques, to the NAHL really got him noticed among colleges after getting limited looks from schools with his time with the L/A Nordiques.

“In the (NAHL) I was playing night in and night out with each roster having at least four, five DI commits, (players committed to) high end DIII schools,” Ouellette said. “It was really competitive, really fast and it put me in that next bracket to be scouted (by) colleges.”

In his two seasons with the L/A Nordiques, Ouellette amassed 34 goals and 112 assists in 89 games.

During the 2017-18 season, Ouellette was named NA3HL All-First Team, All-Rookie Team and the Rookie of the Year. In the 2018-19 season, during which the L/A Nordiques went to the Fraser Cup Final, where they lost to the Texas Brahmas, he was named to the NA3HL First Team for the second straight season. He was also named to the NA3HL Coastal Division First Team and NA3HL Coastal Division Defenseman of the Year in both seasons.

Before his junior hockey career, Ouellette played four years at Lewiston High School, where helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2016 and 2017 Class A state championships.

The Fitchburg State Falcons, based in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, went 14-8-4 last season, losing in the MASCAC conference tournament semifinals to UMass-Dartmouth. The Falcons finished second in the regular season MASCAC standings behind Plymouth State, where former Lewiston teammate Jeromey Rancourt committed to in February.

“Jeromey is a great kid. I have been talking to him all summer and he’s been training,” Ouellette said. “I look forward to it. Jeromey and I are good buddies, we basically have played our whole life together from the (Maine) Moose (program) to Lewiston High School, and I look forward to it.”

Comments are not available on this story.