The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program has announced that three players, both current and former, were selected in the USPHL's National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) draft held on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
U18 forward Michael Felsing, U16 defenseman Zachary Hixon, and former U16 forward, Milan Cermak, were all selected in this year's draft.
Felsing, a 2003 birth year forward, led the Stars 18U team in scoring during the 2020-21 season and helped the Midget Major club to USA Hockey's Nationals Championship tournament, was drafted by the Northern Cyclones. During the '20-'21 season Felsing recorded 87 points (35 goals and 52 assists), including 6 power play goals and 4 shorthanded goals, and finished the season with a +28 plus/minus rating.
Hixon, a 2004 birth year defenseman who skated the past two seasons with the Stars (U15 & U16), was drafted by the South Shore Kings. During the '20-'21 season, Hixon recorded 16 points (5 goals and 11 assists) in 55 games for the U16 Stars. During the '19-'20 season, he recorded 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 55 games with the Stars U15 team.
And Cermak, a 2002 birth year forward and former Esmark Stars U16 player (2017-18), who skated most of the 2020-21 season with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL, before being waived mid-season, was selected by the Jersey Hitmen. He recorded 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 53 games played for the Stars U16 club during the '17-'18 season, helping lead them to the Mid-American District U16 Tier I Championship and a spot in USA Hockey's 2018 U16 Tier I National Championship Tournament.
The 2021 NCDC Entry Draft was held via private conference call between the NCDC organizations and USPHL League office. Each of the league's 13 teams for the 2021-22 season, received 12 selections in the draft, although due to trades not all teams selected 12 players.
Results of the NCDC Entry Draft were listed on the league's website, USPHL.com, in the hours after the Draft's completion.
As the oldest Tier I hockey program in the Mid-American District and one of the oldest Tier I programs in USA Hockey, the Stars AAA Tier I program, founded in 1984, has had players who have graduated from the program go on to play hockey at all levels of the game, from pro hockey (including the NHL and European Pro Hockey), to Collegiate Hockey (NCAA Division I & III and ACHA Hockey), to Junior Hockey (USHL, NAHL, NCDC, OJHL, QJHL, OJHL, NOJHL and more).
The National Collegiate Development Conference, a unique tuition-free junior hockey division geared toward Division I collegiate development, placement and beyond, is a 13-team junior hockey league entirely located in the Northeastern United States.
In 2020-21, the NCDC saw more than 60 NCAA Division I college-committed players, as well as a record 12 players listed in the NHL's Central Scouting "Players To Watch List" in January 2021.