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."
|Wales lose Williams and Cuthbert for All Blacks clash|
|Australia enlist Bolt to sharpen up Ashes preparations|
|Wimbledon will not be the same without her – Duchess pays tribute to Novotna|
|Del Neri sacked by Udinese|
|Everton striker Niasse facing two-match ban after FA diving charge|
|Wyatt makes history as England salvage Women´s Ashes draw|
|Lampard excited by English clubs in Champions League|
|Kvitova ready for ´second career´ to start in 2018|
|Williams deny Kubica deal has been agreed|
|Thiago and Coman back for Bayern´s trip to Anderlecht|
|Prior launches second Lyon attack|
|Dybala hails Messi as ´our Maradona´, wants to play with Neymar|
|Stokes has let England down - Warner wades in ahead of Ashes opener|
|Sherwood talks up Spurs as potential Champions League winners|
|Borussia Dortmund on the brink as Real Madrid eye progress - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Hughton hopeful on video assistance after Brighton denied penalty|
|Klopp staying calm over Salah form|
|Irving leads Celtics to 16th straight win|
|He Said What?! The Best NFL quotes of week 11|
|They don´t have magic balls – Cook plays down Australia pace attack|
|Falcons hold off Seahawks|
|Griezmann: I don´t regret staying at Atletico|
|Rogers tells Paine to enjoy Ashes: It´s just a game!|
|Warner ready for first Ashes Test despite neck injury|
|Ashes newcomer Bancroft thought Test chance was gone - Voges|
|Warner suffers injury scare ahead of Ashes|
|Guardiola dismisses Champions League favourites tag|
|Jackson excited about Gordon´s return: I get to open a new toy|
|Nuggets head coach Malone suspended for one game|
|Steelers OT Gilbert handed four-game PED suspension|
|Prior hits back at ´ridiculous´ claims as Lyon hopes Australia end careers|
|Dolphins QB Cutler placed in concussion protocol|
|Navratilova leads tributes to ´amazing´ Novotna after her death at 49|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 2 Stoke City 2: Gross, Izquierdo extend home unbeaten run|
|Dimitrov braced for Australian Open expectations|
|Broncos fire offensive coordinator Mike McCoy|
|England won´t suffer Gabba ambush, Malan claims|
|Rose in contention to face Dortmund as Pochettino denies ´issue´ with defender|
|Benzema knows he can give more – Zidane|
|I´ve fulfilled my dreams already – Klopp has no plans to coach Barcelona|
|Memorable Ashes Moments: Unlikely saviour Agar falls agonisingly short|
|Wallabies coach Cheika faces investigation|
|The Ashes: Australia squad profiles|
|Aubameyang will face Tottenham, Bosz confirms|
|Klopp expects Matip to face Chelsea, Lallana return getting ´nearer´|
|Brown could return for England, Underhill out|
|Haye´s rematch with Bellew off due to bicep tear|
|The Ashes: England squad profiles|
|Gatland vows not to rise to New Zealand media barbs|
|Berizzo looking to former Red Aspas to provide lessons for Sevilla|
|Mangala ready to pounce, but realistic on Man City playing time|
|The Ashes: How the urn will be won - the case for Australia and England|
|Innovation key as WTA Media embraces evolving viewing habits|
|Trump calls for Lynch to be suspended as anthem row returns|
|Mendy injury means Aguero or Jesus for Guardiola|
|Kohli proud of India after almost snatching Kolkata win|
|The Ashes: Key contests in the battle for the urn|
|Guardiola sends ´big hug´ to ´amazing, so gentle´ Pulis|
|Tavecchio quits as head of FIGC, claims board have refused to resign|
|Benedetto facing Argentina World Cup KO with cruciate injury|
|Hansen hails All Blacks progress|
|Kohli´s record century precedes Bhuvneshwar heroics, but Sri Lanka cling on|
|Shape up! Heynckes reveals demand to Bayern star Vidal|
|Australia hope to open England ´scars´ in Brisbane|
|Smiling Broad sports bruise after golfing mishap|
|Ramos sits out Madrid trip to APOEL|
|West Brom sack Pulis after wretched run|
|Ball fighting fit ahead of Ashes opener at the Gabba|
|Murray should appoint Delgado as Lendl replacement - Henman|
|Former Wimbledon champion Novotna dies aged 49|