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Phantoms Alum Continues to Make History

Friday July 25, 2014

Nathan Walker came to the USHL in January 2013 and put up 27 points over 29 games with the Youngstown Phantoms. (photo by Rob Bindler)

Walker was first Australian selected in NHL Draft

The Washington Capitals have signed forward Nathan Walker to a three-year NHL entry-level contract after selecting him in last month’s NHL Draft.

Walker spent part of the 2012-13 season in the USHL when he came to the Youngstown Phantoms in January of 2013.  He would score a goal on his first shift in the League during game against the Chicago Steel on January 11th of that year, also becoming the first Australian to ever play in the USHL.  He would rack up 27 points (7g, 20a) in 29 total games with the Phantoms, plus was selected to compete in the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The Aussie was slated to come back to the USHL for the 2013-14 season, but was invited to the Washington Capitals training camp and impressed the organization enough that they inserted him into a pair of NHL preseason games and later signed him to a professional contract with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Hershey Bears.  Walker put up 11 points (5g, 6a) over 43 AHL games with Hershey.

Despite already playing pro hockey in the AHL, the 20-year-old Walker was eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft and the Capitals made sure to keep him in their system by selecting him in the third round (89th overall).  It was a historical moment as he became the first-ever Australian selected in the NHL Draft.

Walker is the fourth alumni of the Youngstown Phantoms, and second this summer, to sign a NHL contract since the organization joined the USHL prior to the 2009-10 season – Andrej Sustr, Scott Mayfield, and Jiri Sekac.

USHL stats - Nathan Walker

 

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 13th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2014-15.  A record 35 players were chosen in the 2014 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.  For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive).  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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