Nathan Walker became the first Australian NHL draft pick when the Capitals selected him 89th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-9, 192-pound center spent the 2013-14 hockey season playing with the Capitals AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Walker collected 11 points (5g, 6a) in 43 games with the Bears. This is his third development with the Caps.
What has been your overall impression of development camp?
It’s been really good. It was awesome how they brought in those skating coaches. It was really good to learn about the break down of skating and find out different techniques for what you need to do on cross overs and stuff like that. I’ve enjoyed this camp, it’s been really good.
I heard that you speak five languages, is that true?
(laughs) That’s not true. I speak two.
What languages do you speak?
I speak Czech and English.
Did you learn to speak Czech when you were playing over there?
Has it been nice to be able to communicate with some of the other Czech players this week?
It’s been good. It’s nice to have someone to speak Czech to because back home in Australia there’s not that many people who speak Czech. It’s good that I can keep that language and keep using it.
When you first started playing in the Czech Republic, did you just have to learn the language when you got there?
Yeah, I went to school the first year I got there but every time I had Czech lessons I had hockey practice. The only reason I wanted to go to school pretty much was to learn Czech and that couldn’t happen because I had practice everyday that we had Czech classes so I got a tutor for a couple times a week for a month which helped out a lot. Other than that, it was just in the locker room and watching TV.
What is the coolest thing about being from Australia?
It’s just different I guess. There’s not many Australian hockey players, so I guess it’s that.
What’s the worst part about being from Australia?
That we don’t have as much hockey as you have here.
What was your highlight of last year in Hershey?
I couldn’t pick one. There were some really good times. It was great playing with all the older guys and they taught me a lot. My first pro year was really good to pick their brains for all of their knowledge and experience about the game.
Can you tell us a couple of the “must know” slang words in Australia?
We say, “G’Day,” which is, “good day.” You just have to break it down.
Instead of saying my last name, we don’t say “Walk-er” we say, “Walk-uh” so the “er” is like an ‘uh”.
We don’t say shrimp. Everyone thinks we say, “shrimp on the barbie,” but we don’t use shrimp too often, we say “prawns.” Kangaroo we call “Kanga.” And we say “mate” a lot.
— Deborah Francisco