On Wednesday, January 21, the South Carolina Stingrays welcomed back forward Nathan Walker, when the president and general manager for the Hershey Bears, Doug Yingst, announced that the left-winger had been reassigned.
The 20-year-old Cardiff, Wales native skated in two games with South Carolina in December. The 5’ 8”, 186-pound left shot has played in 28 games with the Bears this season, bringing his total to 71 games in Hershey since signing on and playing his rookie year in 2013-14. During that time he has scored six goals and had nine assists for 15 points.
Eligible for the draft is 2012, he did not actually go until the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft, when the Washington Capitals took him 89th overall.
Though born in Wales, he grew up in Sydney, Australia and has earned the distinction of becoming the first-ever native of Australia selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
During the 2012-13 season, Walker began the season by splitting his time between the HC Vitkovice (Czech) men’s and U20 teams. In January he went to North America where he skated with the Youngstown Phantoms. This was an impressive year for the then 18-year-old. As an assistant captain for the HC Vitkovice U20 squad he scored 12 goals and 12 assists in just 13 games. While playing with the Phantoms, he scored 7 goals and 20 assists and was a +5 in 29 games before a season-ending neck injury that April.
While not drafted in 2013, Walker was invited to the Washington Capital’s training camp and signed an AHL contract with the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate for the Capitals. The youngest player in the league, he scored five goals and six assists in the 43 regular season games in which he dressed.
The youngster earned his first ECHL assist on December 13, 2014, when the Stingrays took on the Greenville Road Warriors in a home game at North Charleston Coliseum. He followed that up with his first ECHL goal—the game-winner—when the Stingrays played the Gwinnett Gladiators the next night in their barn, earning himself third-star honors in that game.