So we’ve looked at the trail blazed by Nathan Walker and looked at those who went before him. Lets dig a little deeper.
In the ice hockey world, Walker is blazing his own trail and opening the doors for a generation of young Aussies to chase their own dreams.
Lets first go back to the first to the case of Colin Scotts. The first Australian to receive a college scholarship and the second Australian to be drafted into the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.
Scotts was given a hard time at the University of Hawaii, as many of the young athletes there felt he was taking up the place of a young North American player, who could possibly take their own family out of poverty by receiving the scholarship.
Scotts went there and fought for his spot, proved his worth everyday until they couldn’t ignore him anymore. What right did he have to be there?
Walker, like Scotts has cleared every hurdle put in front of him and has made his presence felt by sheer hard work and determination, something that’s hard to ignore.
Will we see a day soon when team scouts will look down south in the AIHL or AJIHL for new young talent?
I can imagine that the Washington Capitals, and now the Hershey Bears have had a spike in the media traffic and the back end site data will show much of it coming from Australia. Put your hand up like me if you follow the Bears on Twitter and Facebook!
The boost for Australian hockey may not be completely evident until Walker finds his way into the NHL and a team that will take a chance on a young Aussie.
That’s not saying Walker is a risk. It means teams will have to change their mindset and have faith in young kids from Australia.
The LA Galaxy knew when they signed David Beckham that his jersey sales alone would deliver an income stream that would offset the signing prices.
I’m not saying that the team would sell enough jerseys to cover the wage but I am sure many Aussies will outlay some hard earned to have a piece of history.
Anyone in the USA and Canada knows that we are tough, hard players and give 100% out on the ice, but will more teams be willing to take the chance on a young kid from a land down under where our sport is not that well know.
That mentality comes from the statement, “You play hockey in Australia?”
The North Americans know we play contact sports like rugby and can hold our own at many sports. Who can remember Shane Heal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics taking it to the USA Dream Team?
The AIHL has played a big role in spreading the word of hockey down under and many kids will look to Walker as their inspiration, like many who did the same with Colin Scotts.
A quick Google search will show that many things have already been written but in reality the story has only just began.
Will we kids at the rink in the next few years in Walker jerseys? I think the real question you need to ask is, “What team?”