Nathan Walker has made history and then some. The 23-year-old forward became the first ever Australian hockey player to play in the NHL after debuting with the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Now, Walker is the first Australian NHLer and the first one to score a goal in his first game in the league.
In the midst of the Capitals’ bulldozing of the Montreal Canadiens, Walker added to the pile with a 6-1 deflection tally at the end of the second period.
The goal was originally credited to Devante Smith-Pelly in his first game with the Capitals, but Walker was given the goal after further review in between periods.
Walker’s family was in Washington for the game, and though they weren’t originally aware of the change, a fan helped get them in the know.
Nathan Walker's family finds out he scored his first NHL goal pic.twitter.com/6RzSirtw8C— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 8, 2017
when the goal was officially announced as Nathan Walker's pic.twitter.com/iVyzpEAlnF— steph (@myregularface) October 8, 2017
Before Walker’s first game on Saturday, a handful of Australian athletes congratulated the NHLer on his accomplishment, including NBA stars like Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut, and Thon Maker, alongside MLB’s Grant Balfour and others.
Walker was also the first Australian player drafted in the NHL back in 2014. Since, Walker has played with the Capitals AHL affiliate in Hershey but will now get a chance to stick on Washington’s fourth line.