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Walker said it wasn’t easy leaving home when he was just entering his teens.

He knew if he wanted to continue to grow in hockey, it was necessary.

Getting ice time was an issue in Sydney. A scout who saw him at a youth tournament suggested he move and helped arrange a tryout. That led him to the Czech Republic, where he played seven seasons with the Vitkovice Steel hockey club.

He had 22 goals in 28 games playing for the under-18 team in 2009-10, 20 goals in 35 games playing for the U-20 team in 2010-11.

Last season, his first in the States, Walker had seven goals and 20 assists in 29 games in the top junior league in the country.

“I’m probably not the biggest guy on the ice,” said Walker, who is generously listed at 5 feet 10 inches tall, 185 pounds on the rookie camp roster. “But I feel like I’m always working hard, trying to win as many battles as I can — even against a guy who is 6-8.”

Walker gets home for about three months every year. The bouts of homesickness come less often than they used to, but when they do, he takes out his phone and calls his only brother.

“He tells me to chill out,” Walker said. “I’m pursuing what I want.”