The Melbourne Mustangs have started their late summer training in time to kick off the 2014 winter campaign in April. (It’s still weird that I’m writing winter and April in the same sentence.) In attendance were team star Patrick O’Kane (no joke), Brendan Oakes, Matt Stringer and Micheal James. Coming off a strong 2013 season, the Mustangs are leaving no stone unturned and they feel they will have what it takes come playoff time.
The Mustangs will open up their season on Sunday, April 13. They’ll have their hands full right off the bat as the reigning Goodall Cup champions, the Sydney Ice Dogs come to The Stable. I’m looking to see if O’Kane will be able to capitalize on his 51 points of last season and move up a notch or two on the leader board. This will be the perfect test for O’Kane and the Mustangs to see where some of the off season moves and training is at.
To be the best, you got to beat the best.
The Sydney Ice Dogs however will be starting their training tomorrow with team tryouts starting in early March. Sharpshoote Anthony Wilson, who was apart of the Ice Dogs foundation into the AIHL has decided to retire and not return for the 2014 campaign. An integral part of the Ice Dogs line up, he hangs up his skates with two Goodall Cups under his belt and a 14 year career spanning the Ice Dogs, and with Team Australia internationally.
The Australian Ice Hockey League is an exciting brand of hockey that most don’t know or here about. I will be doing updates on the league throughout the season. So after the Stanley Cup is raised, head down under to get your hockey fix.
In a historic moment for international hockey, Australian player Nathan Walker has been invited to the Washington Capitals rookie camp and could become the first Australian to play in the National Hockey League.
Walker is already over in North America suiting up for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. He began his career in Australia at the age of 6 and was dominating the compeition. As a result, he was scouted by a coach from Slovakia and was invited to play for HC Vítkovice of the Czech Extraliga. During the offseason, he returned home and kept his form up by playing for the Sydney Ice Dogs of the Australian Ice Hockey League .
The majority of his career has been spent in the Czech Reupublic. However, at the age of 19, he has already participated in the Spengler Cup, won gold with Team Australia in 2011 at the IIHF World Championships (Division II) and played in the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects game. If only the Canadian Hockey League could get his hands on him, he’d have all of North America covered!
For a second straight year, Walker was passed upon by all 30 NHL teams in the entry draft. They are definitely missing out on a top quality offensive forward. At 19 years old and a solid 5’10 frame, Walker is yet to fill himself out. He would be a welcome addition on any team, regardless of league stature. In his 29 games with Youngstown earlier this year, he notched an impressive 27 points. If it wasn’t for injuries, he was well on his way to notching 50. He has the tools to become a point a game player.
The dream is alive. Nathan Walker wants to become the first Australian to play in the National Hockey League. I have no doubt that he will.