The Adirondack Thunder only made a few changes up front during the off-season as they brought in three rookies and one guy with ECHL experience, and that’s Zach Walker. The Boise native spent the last two seasons playing in his hometown with the Idaho Steelheads, where he put up 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points in 119 games, “It was really cool; it was a special experience; not a lot of people get to do that, I know Pete got to do that in Glens Falls, and we talked about how the expectations are raised when playing at home, I had a dog and I had a family friend who used to watch them when I was on the road, It’s kinda crazy that I used to grow up watching the Steelheads play and then I got to play for them, which is a once in a lifetime experience” said Walker.
It was a special season for the Steelheads last year as they re-wrote the ECHL record books along with being the Brabham Cup Champions and would make it all the way to the Kelly Cup Finals, where they’d lose to the Florida Everblades in five games, “It was special; a lot of guys shouldn’t have been on our team because they were so good so we were fortunate to have such a strong locker room and roster where everyone got along and credit to coach Sheen and Kelly for being able to put together such a skilled team, we just took things one game at a time, we never really had a bad stretch and there was something about the team that allowed you to bounce back and get back to winning and we talked about the records in the second half of the season, but we knew those were add-ons, but a lot of guys didn’t really care about that, it was a good experience, and hopefully we can do something like that in Adirondack, records are hard to chase, but you just want to be on the winning side of things.”
Prior to joining Boise, the 25-year-old spent his collegiate career at Boston College, where he spent time in and out of the lineup however the Eagles won back-to-back Hockey East Championships in his final two years before Walker would spend a season in the SPHL with the Pensacola Ice Flyers, “I was originally signed in Boise for the COVID season, but they opted out, so I was fishing for a hockey job and figured it would be better to get my feet wet in a professional setting so I decided to go sign in Pensacola where at the end of the day we did win and we had a successful run, I think one of the things that was special was we had a lot of guys who checked their egos at the door, we had a lot of guys who could have been playing in the E or higher that ended up playing in the SPHL and being able to check your ego at the door, work as a team towards a common goal and buy into that is really special, that was probably one of the most fun times I’ve had in my career”.
When asked what he was most excited about for the upcoming season, Walker mentioned the fact that he will have an opportunity, ” A fresh start, being in Boise for the last two years was great; that being said, I wish I had a few more opportunities than I did it’s hard to do that with the caliber of the roster that we had, I’m glad to be part of the team, and I wish I was able to contribute more, but I think that’s what coach Pete expects me to do with the team and provide something that not a lot of guys can do on a consistent basis and just playing fun hockey and focusing on developing, I got to walk around the town and the rink, and it’s something special.” He also mentioned that after last season, he wasn’t sure if he still had the love for the game, “I wasn’t sure if I was gonna play again this season, then coach Pete gave me a call, and I told him I didn’t know if I’d be excited to play hockey again, but I’m really excited to be part of this organization.”