Australia's maiden Stanley Cup champion Nathan Walker has come home to help spread the ice hockey gospel, even if it means donning the red, white and blue instead of the green and gold.
Walker, who became the first Australian to lift the NHL trophy when Washington Capitals defeated Las Vegas Golden Knights earlier this month, will turn out for the United States against Canada in the Ice Hockey Classic in Sydney from Saturday.
The six-game series got underway in New Zealand last week with the Canadians continuing their dominance of the Americans in an 8-5 victory in Auckland. Unfortunately the second game in Wellington was cancelled due to bad weather while the final match of the New Zealand leg will be played in Queenstown on Thursday night [AEST].
"It's Canada versus the U.S. [and] I know the Canadians have taken the title the last three years or so, so I'm sure the U.S. guys are going to want to fight back and try and get the title back," Walker told ESPN on Thursday morning [AEST].
Having spent his early years in Sydney before taking off for the Czech Republic on the first leg of a cross-continent pursuit of his professional sporting dream, Walker can't wait to skate out onto the ice at Qudos Bank Arena in front of the close friends and family who've played such a vital part on his journey to the NHL.
At the top of that list is his fiancée, Tayla, whom Walker will marry by Sydney Harbour next month.
"Definitely very special, to lift that Stanley Cup and to be getting married in the same year within a couple of months of each other is definitely going to stick in the memory books for sure," he told ESPN.
"She's been with me through everything, so it's kudos to her."
But before the vows take place, Walker has a job to do with his American teammates. Local fans may not have a national team to support but Walker's involvement will surely tip the scales in the Americans' favour.
And then there's plenty on offer for the neutrals, too.
"I think it's [ice hockey] just different; it's not like the rugby or the cricket or the soccer or anything," Walker said. "It's totally a different ball-game and it's something that's different for the Sydneysiders to see... I think it's just so unique, the sport's so different to most other sports out there that it's really eye-opening.
"It's going to be great, all the guys that are going to be there are a great bunch of dudes. And to play in front of a home crowd is going to be really nice, too."
And despite lining up for the U.S., will Walker look to sing the Star Spangled Banner?
"I might just hum to it," he said.
After Saturday's fourth game in Sydney, the Ice Hockey Classic moves to Adelaide and then wraps up in Brisbane next week.