Nathan Walker's professional hockey dreams will become a reality when he makes his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
The 23-year-old forward will become the first Australian to play in the NHL after the Sydney native became the first Australian player drafted in 2014.
Australia prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will even be in attendance at Verizon Center in Washington on an invitation from Caps owner Ted Leonsis.
Walker first started playing hockey when he was six and said he was inspired to pursue a professional career after watching movies, "The Mighty Ducks" and "Mystery, Alaska."
"All my friends back home, the hockey community there, they're all rooting for me," Walker said last August. "Every time I go home, they keep asking me when that first [NHL] game is gonna happen. It's a really close hockey community back home, so it'd be pretty big."
Walker has spent the last four seasons playing for the Hershey Bears and has 34 goals with 45 assists in 205 AHL games. His journey to the AHL was even a long one, playing in the Czech Republic from 2007-13 as well as for his hometown Sydney Ice Dogs in 2010 and 2011 with a stop in Poland before moving to the United States.
He flew to New York City before taking a long bus ride to Ohio to join the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. He even had a six-game stint in the ECHL in 2015, playing for the South Carolina Stingrays.
"I just think from the second he got there he had a mission," Anthony Noreen, Walker's coach in Youngstown, told the Capital News Service. "His mission was to play in the NHL and he just wasn’t going to be denied."
Walker was a healthy scratch for Thursday's opener in Ottawa but is expected to be in the starting line-up on Saturday.
"He just continues to become a better player,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said of Walker last month. "Better positionally, reads the game better, more intelligent on his reads, instead of being a pure energy player."
|Iconic 2002 World Cup haircut was media distraction, reveals Ronaldo|
|New Zealand star Taylor fit for day-night Test|
|Teenager Anisimova to face Muguruza in Miami|
|McIlroy credits Wayne Rooney for improved putting|
|Stokes return a ´huge boost´ for England – Root|
|Wright: Difficult for Liverpool sensation Salah to resist Real Madrid|
|Yaya Toure yet to report for international duty, confirm Ivory Coast|
|Masters favouritism could hinder Woods, Thomas claims|
|I wish I could still play with him – Ortiz on Red Sox addition Martinez|
|Morrison confirms plans to play for Jamaica|
|Warriors target Friday return for Curry against Hawks|
|Starc and Marsh set to play at Newlands|
|Red alert: Richard Sherman ´excited´ to be a 49er|
|Germany should be proud to have Sane, says Tah|
|Bertrand out of England friendlies with back injury|
|Optimistic McIlroy ´crossed that line´ with Bay Hill win|
|Young backs Mourinho over Shaw treatment|
|BVBolt? Athletics great scores header while training in Dortmund kit|
|Fekir will look to leave Lyon the right way, says agent|
|Ex-Springboks coach Meyer takes charge at Stade|
|Spieth relishing Reed match play showdown|
|Alisson loves Roma and we haven´t discussed Liverpool move, insists agent|
|Henderson becomes third Ireland player to sign new deal|
|Romo ready to create ´mental bubble´ ahead of PGA Tour debut|
|McTominay: I always wanted to play for Scotland|
|Chiesa vows to honour Astori with Italy displays|
|England´s Pope ready for Heaton challenge amid World Cup race|
|Lautaro Martinez confirms impending Inter move|
|Morata wasn´t happy with Spain snub, admits Alonso|
|Raiola rages over Italy´s Balotelli snub|
|Injured Saunders postpones Murray fight|
|PGA tightens security at Dell Match Play in wake of Austin bombings|
|Raiola hopes Reina to Milan hastens Donnarumma exit|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton prepares to begin title defence in Melbourne|
|Former Sevilla coach Berizzo eyeing return after beating cancer|
|Cutrone did not expect whirlwind Milan season and Italy call-up|
|Saints punish North for missing training|
|´Happy´ Kepa mulled over Real Madrid move|
|GGG wants Saunders next if Alvarez bout is called off|
|Former All Black Mika passes away|
|Lucas Vazquez keen on Real Madrid stay|
|South Africa delighted to call on ´world´s best´ Rabada|
|Tiger Woods continues climb in FedEx Cup, world rankings|
|Juventus clear Chiellini of serious injury|
|Newcastle charged as youth team allegedly breach advertising regulations|
|Kearney joins Best in extending Ireland contract|
|I did not betray Roma – Pjanic could not pass up Juventus opportunity|
|Cardiff Blues appoint Mulvihill as Wilson replacement|
|Title-chasing Sarri closes on Napoli renewal as he hopes to repay fans|
|Cook: I wasn´t close to quitting during Ashes|
|Messi and Ronaldo reveal World Cup kits|
|Nara praises Inter project as Icardi talks continue|
|Best to lead Ireland in World Cup after signing extension|
|Marseille´s Rami wants to ´tickle´ PSG|
|Fury targeting Louis´ record for title defences|
|Salah can push on to Messi´s level - Robertson|
|Rabada free to play in rest of South Africa-Australia series|
|F1 2018: Halo splits opinion ahead of Australia debut|
|Iniesta better than last year – Lopetegui|
|Federer yet to decide on clay-court season|
|Okon quits as Mariners head coach|
|LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Bucks as Love returns|
|Lopetegui: Morata must earn World Cup spot|
|Ronaldo has asked about China – Scolari|
|Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts|
|Spieth, Reed to do battle in Match Play|
|Rangers´ Perez slaughtered, ate bull that caused broken elbow|
|Bills improve offensive line with Bodine, Newhouse|
|Braves phenom Acuna to start season in minors|
|Chargers add Pouncey on two-year deal|