Former Firebirds, Polar Bears star Walker commits to Arizona State
Johnny Walker is going home.
The current Minot Minotauros and North American Hockey League (NAHL) leading scorer has committed to play his college hockey at NCAA Division I Arizona State University for the 2017-18 season.
In his third season with the Minotauros, the Phoenix-born Walker has 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points through 11 games. His 32 career goals are the most by any Minotauros player and his 62 career points are second all-time in franchise history.
“Arizona State was my No. 1 school,” Walker said. “They’re building something really special. I am excited to go home and play in front of my little brother, who is my No. 1 fan.”
Walker also played for the Central Division team at the 2015 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February, where he led the team in scoring with four points during the event.
During his youth days in the desert, Walker played for the Phoenix Firebirds and the Phoenix Polar Bears before finishing up in Scottsdale playing for coach Jason Wright and the CAHA 14U program.
“Coach Wright was a great coach with a great resume to prove it,” said Walker. “Jim Livanavage is my stepdad and was my coach from when I was six years old until I moved away to prep school (at Culver Military Academy). He was always a great coach and was always there for me improving any areas of my hockey that needed to get better.”
On the commitment to play for the Sun Devils, Walker credits his family for the never-ending support.
“My dad and stepdad have been great,” Walker said. “It’s been a long road, and (my mom has) helped me with more than just hockey.”
Walker was also quick to thank the coaching staff in Minot.
“After that first year, Marty Murray, Nigel Dube and Cory Lonke never stopped believing in me,” said Walker. “Without that, this wouldn’t be possible.”
“It’s a great day for our franchise and Johnny,” said Murray, Minot’s coach and GM. “He is a great story.”
Walker will join former Minotauros teammate Jake Clifford, who is currently a freshman, at Arizona State next season.
(With files from Ken Oda)