A verbal commitment means nothing more than an unbinding handshake that other D1 coaches will stop recruiting you. Advisors or whoever can work the backlines if you think there are better options and there are no penalties to decommiting on both sides. NLI signing locks it in for 2 years. (you can defer 1 year if not ready and play jrs.). All that means is you are locked in to step foot on ice and get your $$$ if that was in the NLI. Once you sign NLI you can not just de'co your self. If somehow you kill it during your time in the USHL, NAHL, BCHL, AJHL, etc and get noticed by a better school or hockey opportunity, you have to hit the transfer portal to make an official move. (I think you get 1 move without a penalty) Not sure how complicated this goes but I know 2 kids that have completed this process. At the same time I know 5+ 02 kids this year playing jrs, who had verbal commitments since they were 16 to solid D1 teams, and got de'coed on my kids jr team and other teams. It's a crazy process (watching it unfold now) and if you are on bubble at any level be prepared to get cut.
Don’t get the verbal thing. Just another product of Facebook generation. Sprinting to the front of the marathon to get on to. These amazing institutions should be better than that but the truth is they are businesses and it’s free hype. No one focuses on just being good at what they do. Harvard is embarrassing themselves with their cash grab camp and million commitments