St. Cloud, MN – It was quite a year for first-year forward Nolan Walker, the oft-traveled 20 year-old Anchorage, Alaska native. After three seasons at the prestigious Culver Military Academy in Indiana and a season of USHL hockey in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he attacked his next challenge of Division I hockey at St. Cloud State. And, excel he did, playing for the #1 ranked Huskies who occupied that lofty position for most of the season. Walker finished the season with 8 goals and 19 assists for 27 points. The numbers placed him 8th on the team scoring chart and 16th in NCHC scoring and 2nd in the conference for a rookie only two points behind Taylor Ward of Omaha. His reward was being named to the 2018-19 NCHC All-Rookie team.
But, just as important, Walker and five of his first-year teammates were recently added to the 2018-19 NCHC All-Academic Team. To be eligible for the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team, a student-athlete must compile a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average (or better) and have completed a full academic year at their current institution. Similarly, for NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athletes, a student-athlete must attain a 3.5 cumulative GPA or better with a full year of academic studies. Fellow forward, Sam Hentges, a Minnesota Wild draft choice was named as a Distinguished Scholar Athlete. Others named to the All-Academic team were first-years players and defensemen, Spencer Meier and Nick Perbix and forward Micah Miller. An impressive showing to have five of your six first-year players, all who played regularly, to have this academic success.
Walker, who took a year off from academics while in Sioux Falls indicated “My first semester I had to get used to getting back to those study habits and doing homework after I took a year off. Second semester was a lot easier because I was in a groove and felt more comfortable as the year went on.” He also credited Culver Academy, a prestigious college prep school with it’s ultra disciplined atmosphere which ” helped me a lot with study habits and time management”. And, of course, he was very proud of the other freshman for making NCHC All-Academic. “A lot of us were in the same classes which helped a lot and being in the dorms we were able to push each other to be our best in the classroom” said Walker. “Currently I’m majoring in finance which intrigued me before coming into school. I’m a big numbers guy so I thought I would be interested in it. We will see, but that’s what I’m going to study right now – but it can always change. Academics are important to me because I know at some point I will need it for my future.”
For the St. Cloud State University Hockey program, it’s become a way of life for a team that has earned two perfect 1000 APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores in the last three published years. In all, the Huskies had 18 of 27 players on the squad earn NCHC All-Academic this past season.
Walker, who is undrafted, recently spent a week at the Boston Bruins Development Camp.