Nathan Walker was born in Cardiff, Wales, UK, and grew up in Australia where he first began to play hockey. The movie “The Mighty Ducks” was his inspiration to play the sport, Walker told ABC 7 News. After he watched the movie, he knew he wanted to try it out and play himself.
Due to the lack of ice rinks in Australia, Walker made a bold choice at just 13 years old to move to the Czech Republic, leaving his family behind. While it was his decision to move and not due to a parent’s job, Walker experienced what a lot of Third Culture Kids (TCKs) feel when they move to a new place.
Walker left The Czech Republic knowing how to speak Czech, Slovak and a little Russian. He would find himself homesick from time to time but he says his support system back in Australia was very helpful and kept him going. In an article on novacapfans.com, Walker says, “As a 13-year-old, the culture shock was huge. I went from sunny Australia to the cold and gray Czech Republic. I was living in a city called Ostrava with a family that didn’t speak any English. I didn’t speak Czech, and didn’t know anyone, so the first year was really hard. It would take me ages to do simple things like travel five minutes down the road for practice.”
As a 13-year-old, the culture shock was huge. I went from sunny Australia to the cold and gray Czech Republic.Nathan Walker – novacapsfans.com
Walker goes to the NHL
In 2014, Walker became the first Australian to be drafted in the National Hockey League as the Washington Capitals’ third-round pick. All of his hard work and following his dream was beginning to pay off. Hockeysfuture.com says Walker spent the next few years playing for the Capitals’ minor-league Hershey Bears team as the youngest player. In 2017, Walker played his the very first NHL game.
His family made it out to the game and he got his first goal as an NHL player in that game. Walker expresses his feelings during his first week as a Washington Capital in the video below.
After Walker played for the Capitals for a few years, he joined the St. Louis Blues hockey team in 2019.
Walker began playing hockey in an area where it was not very common but despite that, he was able to make it all the way up to the NHL. Walker made the decision of moving alone at a very young age to follow his dream of pursuing a hockey career. Despite the tough transition, Walker made the best of it and created friendships and connections to get him to where he is today, making him an inspiration to young athletes and TCKs.