Congratulations are in order to Castlegar's Luke Walker. The cousin of Trail Smoke Eaters defenceman Eric Walker has made the final roster for the American entry at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Walker did all that despite suffering a pretty severe injury to his face when he was hit by a puck in a recent game.
Instead of walking away and giving up the dream he threw on a full face shield and went to the evaluation camp anyway. Walker must have made quite an impression to get on the team despite being less than 100% at the time. That heart and determination will be a big help to the US squad as they start the tournament on boxing day.
Walker can play for them because he was born in the US while his father Gord was playing pro hockey. We'll have interviews with both Gord and Luke Walker tonight on Mountain FM's Overtime. They'll be on in the first hour of the show and later on the podcast. I'm sure everyone around the West Kootenay will wish Luke the best of luck but we'll all probably still want to see Canada get that gold medal. Maybe Luke can score a hat trick and go +3 in a 4-3 Canada win over the US in the gold medal game.
Speaking of international competitions, Canada's Spengler Cup team will have a distinctly Smokie feel to it. Former Smoke Eaters Travis Roche and Wade Dubielewicz will suit up for Coach Craig MacTavish and Team Canada in what should be a terrific opportunity for them to showcase themselves to NHL clubs. Roche is playing for Bern in the Swiss league while Dubielewicz is with Minnesota's AHL farm team in Houston. Both guys have been to the big dance before and I'm sure would like nothing better than a chance to show they deserve a chance to get back there again.
We'll have more Smoke Eaters alumni talk over the holiday break as I get you up to date on what other former Smokies are doing this season. I know for example that one NCAA school has been trying out an all Smoke Eater line recently. Stay tuned to the blog for more on that and audio from this past weekend coming up over the next couple of days. Also scroll down to get video highlights from Trail's two wins before the holiday break.
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