Since joining the Capitals organization, Nathan Walker has had one goal on his mind: become the first Australian hockey player to play in the NHL. Saturday, during the Capitals’ home opener, that dream will officially become a reality. Walker will make his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens and officially become the first Australian to play in the NHL.
After signing an AHL contract with Hershey in 2013, Walker was drafted in 2014 by the Capitals. He’s since spent his pro career in Hershey, contributing 79 points in 202 games with Hershey. With the departure of several players in the offseason, Walker quickly became the frontrunner for a roster spot on the Caps.
The news of his debut comes days after landing a full-page spread in Australia’s Daily Telegraph and receiving a personal congratulations from the Sport Minister of New South Wales, his home state.
Congrats, Nathan! Here’s hoping Saturday night is the first of many NHL games for you.
From the Caps:
Washington Capitals forward Nathan Walker is scheduled to make his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens and will become the first Australian-national to play in the NHL.
The Sydney, Australia, native became the first Australian drafted to the NHL after Washington selected him in the third round, 89th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft. Walker, 23, played junior-level hockey in the Czech Republic, participating in 213 games in the Czech League’s Vitkovice program. Additionally, Walker appeared in 29 games in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms and recorded 27 points (7g, 20a) in the 2012-13 season. In the year prior to the 2014 draft, Walker registered 11 points (five goals, six assists) and 40 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL). Walker has represented Australia at the 2011 IIHF World Championship Division II tournament and at the 2012 World Championship Division 1 Group B tournament.
Walker registered 23 points (11g, 12a) in 58 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL) during the 2016-17 season. The 5’9”, 186-pound left wing ranked eighth among Bears skaters in plus/minus (+11) and tied for ninth in goals. In addition, Walker set a career high with two game-winning goals in 2016-17 and tied his career high in multi-goal games (2). During the 2015-16 season, Walker registered 41 points (17g, 24a) in 73 games, setting career highs in points, goals, assists and games played. He finished the season ranked third on the team in plus/minus (+20), fourth in goals and points, fifth in games played and sixth in assists. Walker was also named Hershey’s 2016 Man of the Year, Unsung Hero and Most Improved Player. Walker earned 79 points (34g, 45a) in 202 career AHL games with Hershey.
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