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Coach: Clarke backing out of agreement with UND to join Lewiston of QMJHL

FARGO, N.D. - The coach of the United States Hockey League's Fargo Force says 15-year-old star Garrett Clarke is backing out of a verbal commitment to the University of North Dakota and the Fargo USHL team.

Force Coach Dean Blais says Clarke has decided to join the Lewiston Maineiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Clarke, a Moncton, N.B., native, was taken sixth overall in Saturday's Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. Earlier this year, he became the youngest person to verbally commit to the Sioux.

"It's disappointing for both us and UND," said Blais, who was told of Clarke's decision after the defenceman was drafted Saturday. "He committed to both of us. He went back up there (to Canada) and got caught up with all his buddies and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft.

"Sometimes these guys get caught up in the draft and they forget the most important thing is an education. He basically backed out on his word."

UND head coach Dave Hakstol cannot comment because Clarke had not signed with the Sioux.

The six-foot, 180-pound Clarke will forgo his American college eligibility when he signs a contract with the Quebec league.

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