Into The Record Books: Johnny Walker Becomes ASU Hockey’s All-Time Leading Scorer

Story by Evan Oscherwitz

Johnny Walker is unquestionably one of the best players to suit up for Arizona State’s hockey team in its young history. With two 20-goal campaigns and 28 career multi-point games to his name, Walker has re-written ASU’s record books in his four years as a Sun Devil.

On Friday, he added another, more significant record to his resume.  Late in the second period of Arizona State’s 4-1 loss to the Michigan Wolverines, Walker scored his 108th career point, passing former teammate Brinson Pasichnuk for the program’s all-time scoring lead.

With the Sun Devils trailing 3-0, Walker carried the puck into the offensive zone, cut to the middle of the ice and uncorked a powerful snap shot that glanced off of teammate Chris Grando’s chest and into the net.  

Unfortunately, nobody was in the mood to celebrate after the game. Walker’s achievement, while historic, did little to alleviate the pain of losing.

His big moment was overshadowed by yet another loss for the Sun Devils, who now sit with a record of 6-15-2 on the year. Walker was not available for comment after the game, and head coach Greg Powers was unwilling to answer questions relating to the topic.

The 2020-21 season has been much less kind to Walker and his teammates than years prior. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASU has had to play all of their games on the road, resulting in a litany of injuries.

Walker was the first player to go down, suffering a knee ailment in the second game of the season that sidelined him for 10 games and put his pursuit of the scoring record in jeopardy.

Due to the severity of his injury, Walker could have returned to Tempe to recover, but he made the selfless decision to remain with the team throughout the remainder of their long road trip. Once he returned to the ice, he made up for lost time by logging seven points in his first four games, including a spectacular lacrosse-style goal against Minnesota on Jan. 4.

Walker, a native Phoenician, chose to return to his hometown after the conclusion of his junior career and joined an ASU team that was just getting its feet wet at the NCAA level. Despite his natural scoring ability and prototypical size, he was not drafted by an NHL organization.

His flashy goals and selfless, win-at-all-costs demeanor quickly endeared him to the fans, and his star would continue to rise as ASU became a nationally relevant team. After winning just eight games in Walker’s freshman season, the Sun Devils eclipsed the 20-win mark in each of the next two years, and Walker led the team in goals both times.

As much as Walker will be remembered for his numerous highlight-reel goals, his legacy is defined by much more than just his on-ice performance. His role in building a winning culture at Arizona State and transforming the Sun Devils from a fledgling program into a perennially competitive team cannot be understated.

His constant drive to succeed, strong leadership skills and unparalleled work ethic have set a standard for future generations of Sun Devil hockey players to live up to, and his place atop the record books will serve as a constant reminder of his contributions for many years to come.

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