Auburn, ME - Central Maine Community College ice hockey coach Matt Buotte is excited to announce one of the first recruits for the 2019-2020 Mustangs campaign, with hulking defenseman River Yearwood joining the fold. Yearwood, a Bethseda, Maryland product, is listed at 6'3" and figures to bring size and strength to a Mustangs blueline looking to improve in both areas.
"I think in a lot of ways we were easy to play against last year," said Buotte. "River adds something we don't have. He's a big kid, quality kid who we know is going to be a hard-working impact player from day one."
Yearwood, who posted 9 points and 16 penalty minutes in his final year at Walt Whitman High School, was team captain as a senior. Thomas Sneddon, who coached Yearwood at Walt Whitman, is extremely high on Yearwood's potential.
"River is a special player, plain and simple," said Sneddon. "His decision making, compete level, and will to succeed is what makes him so fun to coach. He will be a great addition to CMCC."
Yearwood--who is also an exceptional rugby player--also spends time volunteering with the nonprofit Education, Goals, Opportunities, and Sports program helping at-risk youth escape poverty.
"River will make a big impact on the ice, no doubt," said Buotte. "When he came to campus for our open house and we got a chance to meet him I could tell right away he's a high quality kid. I think that's what it's more about, to be honest. He can play, yes, but he's going to fit into the culture that we're trying to build here seamlessly. I'm thrilled he's chosen CM and I think that it's going to be a great fit for everyone involved."
After turning down opportunities to play junior hockey in pursuit of an education, Yearwood comes to Central Maine full of promise and high praise from those who have worked with him in the past. One of those coaches is Craig Laughlin, current Washington Capitals television analyst who played more than 400 games in the National Hockey League.
"I'm excited and proud of River," said Laughlin of his former student-athlete. "He works hard, has passion, and is a consummate team-first player. He's a strong defenseman that moves well and competes all over the ice. Not too many kids have a shot like his."
Yearwood will be majoring in general studies when he arrives in the fall with an associates in arts.
"When you're building a program you need guys like River," said Buotte. "He's a great teammate, a great hockey player and we're thrilled he is going to be a Mustang."