BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Central Illinois Flying Aces, a member of the United States Hockey League since 2014, will hold the first week of its preseason training camp at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, the team announced Monday.
With upgrades to Grossinger Motors Arena set to take place in preparation for the 2017-18 regular season, the Flying Aces’ home preseason game against Chicago on Friday, Sept. 15, will not be played.
“We want to ensure that these players have the best possible environment to play in while they pursue a chance to play at the NCAA Division I level and eventually in the NHL,” Flying Aces Chief Operating Officer Brendan Kelly said. “This also gives us a chance to have the locker room completely refurbished with all the new visual elements for when it’s first used by the players next week.”
According to Central Illinois head coach and general manager Mike Watt, the opportunity to hold the camp in a neutral location will give the players a setting similar to an NHL training camp.
“This is what many of these guys are going to go through in a couple of years when they’re competing for spots on an NHL roster,” Watt, who played five NHL seasons, said. “The players get to simulate a week-long road trip and forge this team’s chemistry right from the get-go. That’s something not many other teams are able to do.
“We’re very fortunate to have an ownership group like CSH International that was all for us making this trip and giving us the resources to do so,” Watt added.
Located a little less than 5 1/2 hours from Bloomington, Adrian College was the most recent coaching stop for Flying Aces assistant coach Chase Fuchs, who served as an assistant for the NCAA Division III powerhouse from 2015-17. Through his connections with the program, Fuchs was able to arrange for the Flying Aces to utilize Adrian’s facilities, including Arrington Ice Arena, for the entire week, which concludes with an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday night.
Central Illinois’ first preseason game will take place on Saturday, Sept. 16, against the Muskegon Lumberjacks at L.C. Walker Arena. Puck drop is slated for 6:15 p.m. CT.
About the Flying Aces
The Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the future talent of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2016-17 season, there were 108 active NHL players who were USHL alumni. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20-years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.