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."
|Griezmann attracts criticism for ´racist´ fancy dress|
|Spedding extends Sarries losing streak, Wasps halt La Rochelle|
|Klopp calls for Liverpool consistency after Bournemouth battering|
|Coutinho won´t be drawn on Liverpool future|
|Kaka Retires: Ballon d´Or, Milan glory and Brazil brilliance among career highlights|
|Liverpool make top-flight history in Bournemouth victory|
|We can´t think we´re unbeatable - Jesus|
|Lukaku´s love for West Brom behind muted celebration - Mourinho|
|Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4: Coutinho sparkles as Reds return to winning ways|
|Pool-topping Blues gain Sale revenge|
|Kaka Retires: Former clubs and team-mates pay tribute|
|Dybala needs to be in better physical shape - Allegri|
|Hearts break spell but Celtic join Milan, Porto among unbeaten elite|
|Juventus allowed Bologna nothing - Pjanic|
|Mourinho: United lost ambition in second-half slump|
|Lingard claiming second goal in Manchester United win|
|Rohit relishing overseas challenges after Sri Lanka ODI series win|
|Kaka eyes future in the boardroom after resisting Milan swansong|
|West Brom 1 Manchester United 2: Lukaku on target against old club|
|Former AC Milan and Brazil star Kaka announces retirement|
|Bologna 0 Juventus 3: Pjanic, Mandzukic and Matuidi send champions second|
|Feyenoord hit seven against Sparta Rotterdam|
|Dhawan hundred seals series win after Sri Lanka collapse|
|Gattuso slams ´embarrassing´ Milan after Verona defeat|
|Celtic´s 69-match unbeaten run ends with Hearts thrashing|
|Fekir keen on Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Manchester City... and Arsenal|
|Julian Savea not ruling out rugby league switch|
|Mbappe pips Martial to Telefoot Trophy|
|Verona 3 AC Milan 0: Gattuso´s side slip to insipid defeat|
|Man City´s celebrations? You should hear Burnley, says Rooney|
|Froome´s Vuelta test bad for cycling, says Bardet|
|Vince backs Cook and Root to overcome slump|
|Rooney wants greedy Rashford, has high hopes for Martial|
|Man City aren´t one of the Premier League´s best ever - Rooney|
|Rose romps to Indonesian Masters title|
|The best answer is laughing - Ronaldo mocks Gremio boss Renato|
|Brisbane Roar 1 Melbourne Victory 2: Williams and Barbarouses boost pre-derby mood|
|LeBron James wants to break ´stereotype´ around ageing stars after passing Larry Bird|
|Hazlewood frustrated as Anderson issues rallying call|
|The Ashes Round-up: Weather holds up Australia|
|Perez keen for ´spectacular´ Ronaldo to never leave Madrid|
|Rain halts Australia charge for Ashes glory|
|Numbers tell the story as Cook´s Ashes woes continue|
|Golovkin, Alvarez scared to face me - Saunders|
|Cook, Root fall as Australia close in on win|
|Knicks top Thunder in Anthony´s return to New York|
|Saunders outclasses Lemieux to retain title|
|Chiefs too good for Chargers, Lions win|
|Australia push further ahead in Perth|
|Kroos: Madrid don´t need added motivation for Clasico|
|Howe discussed Liverpool criticism with Begovic|
|Pellegrino: I can´t control Van Dijk future|
|Perez suggests Madrid unlikely to make January moves|
|Packers activate Rodgers for Panthers clash|
|Gonzalez bids emotional farewell to Dodgers|
|Liverpool scouts to thank for Salah capture, says Klopp|
|Substitutes made the difference - Simeone|
|Sarri praises ´extraordinary´ Hamsik as Napoli go top of Serie A|
|Mutual trust at Man City is ´a dream´, says Guardiola|
|Thorley grabs four in Gloucester rout, Connacht trounce Brice|
|Stoger´s small changes getting Dortmund back on track|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Alaves 0: Substitute Torres breaks LaLiga duck to net winner|
|City defeat a ´good experience´ for Tottenham - Pochettino|
|Fury takes pop at ´carthorse´ Joshua|
|Zidane dreaming of sextuple after Club World Cup success|
|Running man De Bruyne makes it easier to manage City - Guardiola|
|Ronaldo and Zidane hoping for Ballon d´Or winner to retire at Madrid|
|Championship Review: Teenage debutant Maja snaps Sunderland´s home drought|
|In-form Neymar is good for all who love football – Emery|
|Napoli´s record goalscorers - how Marek Hamsik compares to Diego Maradona|