BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Central Illinois Flying Aces forward Stephen Halliday has announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey at the University of North Dakota.
The first overall pick in the 2018 USHL Phase I Draft, Halliday is the first Flying Aces player or prospect to commit ahead of the 2018-19 season.
A 6-foot-3, 203-pound winger, Halliday became the first No. 1 overall Phase I pick in team history when Central Illinois selected him at this year’s USHL Draft. He is set to be the Flying Aces’ first Phase I pick to play a full season for the team in the season immediately following his draft selection.
Halliday, a native of Toronto, Ontario, is coming off a big season for the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA (GTMMHL), a campaign that saw him lead the team in goals, assists and points. He finished fourth overall in the league in scoring with his 83 points on 36 goals and 47 assists in just 59 games.
Halliday is currently committed to North Dakota for the 2020-21 season. A projected first-round pick for the 2020 NHL Draft, Halliday will be the first player in team history to play for the storied Fighting Hawks program. North Dakota won the 2016 National Title, owns eight total National Championships, and has produced NHL players like Jonathan Toews, TJ Oshie, and Travis Zajac, among others.
The Flying Aces had 35 former players compete at the NCAA Division I level during the 2017-18 season, a figure that will exceed 40 for the first time in team history for the 2018-19 college hockey season.
The Flying Aces open the 2018-19 home schedule on Saturday, Oct. 6 with a matchup against the Waterloo Black Hawks at Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington.
Season tickets and Mini Plans for the 2018-19 season are on sale now. For tickets or more information, call the Flying Aces at 309-434-2980 or visit www.flyingaceshockey.com.
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded 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 next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. 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.