These are the kind of stories that I just love writing.
Cole Wilson, a third year University student and hockey player at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia, has accepted an invite to the Washington Capitals Summer Development Camp that will take place July 6-12.
Not bad for a kid who didn’t take the major junior route.
Wilson has lead the Thunderbirds in scoring this season with 35 points in 28 games. His 6’2 towering frame has not doubt added to the pedigree of his playing. After being named to this year’s Canada West Second All-Star Team, his stock rose even more and definitely caught the eye of the Capitals brass. With the Capitals just hiring famed Barry Trotz as their head coach, Wilson will be put to the test and put through the ups and downs of an NHL camp which will be a bit different from the work he’s doing towards his political science degree.
Hailing from nearby White Rock, British Columbia,
Wilson spent his hockey career between three different junior A leagues, and three different provinces. While suiting up for the Westside Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League, Wilson notched an impressive 44 points in 60 games. He also excelled on the Warriors limited playoff run.
This is a vital opportunity not only for Wilson but for Canadian Universities in general. It’s showing other players and students that the men in the big leagues are in fact paying attention to your play. Every player scouted and looked at could be an impressive addition to any hockey team even if they didn’t come out of major junior.
Junior A hockey players across the country, keep your head’s up and your play strong. You never know who will be in the stands watching.
On Saturday night, a mere three hours west from where I sat watching on television, a National Hockey League preseason game was taking place in the Yardmen Arena in the city of Belleville, Ontario. The community of Sterling-Rawdon won the Kraft Hockeyville challenge and was presented a National Hockey League game in their community.
While the teams of the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets took to the ice that is the home of the Belleville Bulls, only one name stood out to me. No, not Evander Kane or Dustin Byfuglien. Hell, not even Alexander Ovechkin.
That name was Nathan Walker.
Nathan Walker made history Saturday night becoming the first Australian to compete in a preseason NHL game as he skated with the Washington Capitals. He even helped out in the 4-3 shootout win, earning an assist on Washington’s first goal.
Walker was actually born in Wales, United Kingdom but grew up in Australia and found his love for the game. In 2007, he moved to the Czech Republic to help his play, suiting up for both under 18 and under 20 squads. Along the way he made stops in the Australia Ice Hockey League with the Sydney Ice Dogs.
Scouts saw something in this young kid as he signed a contract with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL for 2013. It was here in North America that the NHL started to really pay attention. After failing to be drafted in the 2013 Entry Draft in New Jersey, the Washington Capitals handed him a spot in their training camp leading to his debut Saturday night.
The sky is the limit for Walker. Given his talent and age, there is no doubt to see him in an NHL jersey sooner rather then later. Australia should be proud of the hockey talent they are producing.
Soon enough, and hopefully the world will take notice, the NHL might have a Aussie invasion.
Welcome to the first installment of Wild Card Wednesday! The post where we bring you some of the fascinating and most ridiculous hockey cards of all time.
Ahhhhh Kraft Dinner. A Canadian staple for kids and college folk. Nothing beats some chopped up hot dogs in a nice bowl of KD made with a Kraft cheese slice…..ok I’m getting off topic. Kraft Dinner had a HUGE promotion in the 1990’s of hockey cards that they would tack onto their boxes. It was a genius marketing ploy to get kids into the game of hockey. Most of them were half decent looking and then some where along the line they began to slack off and made the whole back of the box one big huge card. And they were mostly goalies for some reason.
Ok. Where to start on this one. Whoever designed this card either had a firm hatred of the Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Darren Puppa or simply was just a really immature college student. Either way, why on earth would you freestyle hand write the word “Poops” onto the card. Yes I know it was Puppa’s nickname but come on, save the guy a little bit of embarrassment will ya. I actually remember owning this on and taking it to school and laughing at it. Luckily I’ve grown up since then. I think.
Remember Donny Beaupre? Yeah that’s bringing you back now isn’t it. Beaupre spent most of his time in Minnesota and Washington and actually recorded the Ottawa Senators first shutout. There’s actually not much wrong with this one considering it was the 90’s except Bopes? I don’t even think that was his nickname. Someone’s getting lazy here.
Ah Monsieur Roy! C’est bon ca! Well kinda. The red on purple was really a hit I see. Makes the blue a little tingy but hey, what can you do with 1990’s graphics. The “Casseau” you see at the bottom is actually Roy’s nickname. It comes from the fact that he had a diet of french fries and the box it came in is Casseau in French. Now…..I don’t know about you but I dont think that’s something I’d like to be proud of and shared across the country. But hey, at least he looks good!