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YouTube star Oliver Wahlstrom, age 13, becomes youngest player to make NCAA hockey commitment

Oliver Wahlstrom (Creative Images photography)A lot will change for Oliver Wahlstrom between age 13 and 19, but the University of Maine is hopeful that won't include his college hockey commitment.

If the name sounds familiar, it's thanks to a lacrosse-style shootout move the New England hockey player pulled off before a Boston Bruins game in 2009 that has attracted more than 4.2 million views on YouTube. Now Wahlstrom, age 13 and six months, has become the "the youngest player to ever commit to an NCAA college hockey program" by choosing the Maine Black Bears.

Oliver will take his talents to Orono, Maine, in the fall of 2019. To put it in perspective, that's two winter Olympics away. By that fall, the next U.S. president will be ramping up her/his re-election bid and the Toronto Maple Leafs will finally be in the last year of David Clarkson's contract.

From Chris Peters:

Verbal commitments are not binding and Wahlstrom could change his mind someday over the next five years. Regardless, any time a player not even in high school commits to a college athletics program, it raises eyebrows.

College hockey recruiting, due in part to competition with Canadian major junior and amongst other schools, has seemingly created more and more early commitments, but few have ever approached this level of youth. (Eye On Hockey)

Mind you, this is probably more about the Wahlstrom family wanting to keep college and junior hockey recruiters at a distance by making their plans known. Oliver won't sign a letter of intent until he's a senior in high school, as per NCAA policy.

It's unprecedented but not that far out of the realm when it comes to the funhouse-mirror world of big-time NCAA Division I recruiting, where BCS-conference football schools now give out scholarship offers to eighth graders. I guess this is all very healthy.

By the same token, what is the rush? The NCAA's prohibition on recruiting major junior hockey players has made recruiting very cutthroat, but Wahlstrom isn't even eligible for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's entry draft for another two years.

Wahlstrom, though, is a prodigy. His father Joakim Wahlstrom also played for the U of Maine in the late 1980s when it was a college hockey powerhouse. That shootout wizardry in '09 brought Oliver national attention.

Two years later, Oliver pulled off a similar bit of derring-do during a return trip to TD Garden in Boston.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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