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Boise Native Zach Walker Signs on with Steelheads for 2021-22

September 20, 2021 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads News Release

BOISE, Idaho - Boise native and forward Zach Walker joins the Idaho Steelheads for the 2021-22 season, signing an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC), Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Monday. Walker is the first player born in Boise to play with the Steelheads.

"I've moved around a lot and placed in a lot of different places, but when people ask me where home is I say Boise," said Walker. "I'm sure it'll be a lot different for me and see what has taken over the town, but I'm just super excited to play in an area that I have played in-between periods at Steelheads games or where I sold Chuck-A-Pucks in the concourse."

Walker, 23, played his first professional season with the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in 2020-21, posting four goals and six assists for 10 points with 27 penalty minutes and a plus-three rating en route to the President's Cup Championship. He made his professional debut on January 22 against the Knoxville Ice Bears and recorded his first professional goal four games later on January 30 when hosting the Macon Mayhem. He was signed with the Steelheads prior to the organization opting-out of the 2020-21 season.

The 6-foot-1 forward grew up as a staunch Steelheads fan, recalling moments in the team's history that he enjoyed with his family in the 2000s and during the Kelly Cup Championship seasons. Walker is one of a few players now reaching the professional level that grew up with the Steelheads and was born after the team came into existence, and though his family has since moved away from the Treasure Valley, the homecoming brings back memories of his childhood but now with the opportunity to make new ones as a professional.

"I can remember those nights that my dad and I would walk out five minutes early to beat the traffic and catch the game on the radio, or whisper down the stairs at night after listening with headphones in my room to tell my family the Steelheads won. The team sometimes skates at Ice World, and that's where I learned how to play the game. Not a lot of kids get to say they played professional hockey in their hometown.

"My first pro season [in Pensacola] was super fun. I know a lot of guys opted not to play, but at the end of the day I just wanted to make the most out of the season that I could and get some experience at the pro level. The college game was super quick, but the pro game is bigger, faster and stronger. It requires you to be more consistent and rely on what you do well."

"We're happy to have Zach signed again," said Sheen on Walker. "He had a great season with Pensacola last year and took some big strides in the professional game He brings an element of grit and skill that the Steelheads are known for. We're excited for him to wear a professional jersey in his hometown."

Prior to his professional career, Walker played four seasons at Boston College from 2016-17 through 2019-20, tallying 18 points (3-15-18) with 66 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating through 113 games. He was part of two Hockey East Regular Season Championships in 2017-18 and 2019-20, his sophomore and senior seasons, respectively. He was also a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) for two seasons from 2014-15 through 2015-16 and participated in the 2016 U18 World Jr. Championships, notching four points (2-2-4) in seven games while earning a bronze medal.

Walker is the 14th Steelheads player and ninth forward announced to an ECHL contract for the 2021-22 season, joining Zack Andrusiak, Luc Brown, Colby McAuley, Shawn McBride, Will Merchant, David Norris, Jake Pappalardo and A.J. White as well as defensemen Darren Brady, Casey Johnson, and Evan Wardley and goaltenders Matt Jurusik and Jake Kupsky. Future announcements and signings will be announced throughout the summer, and you can follow who's been added on the team's Summer Signing Tracker.

The Steelheads 25th Anniversary Reunion Game kicks off the 2021-22 season on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Idaho Central Arena! Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, Sep. 15 at 10:00 a.m. Season tickets and flex plans are available ahead of the Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 22. Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for the return of hockey to Downtown Boise! Make sure to secure your FloSports subscription for the 2021-22 season to lock in all Steelheads games and more on ECHL TV.

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