By Doug Kennedy
Brent Walton has carved quite a path throughout his hockey career, one that has taken him to the United States and Europe.
The Cardiff Devils brought Walton and his wife Lisa back to Wales last November to honour him for leading them to its only championship in club history. They were welcomed by 500 people in a question-and-answer opening ceremony that was part of his special night. He delivered a pre-game speech to the team, and there was also a poignant video tribute about his time in Cardiff. Family and friends sat in a VIP box to watch the game. Cardiff is the largest city in Wales and the country’s capital. He said it was an amazing experience to go back to a place that provided him such wonderful memories.
Walton was born in Georgetown, and his parents Ron and Sue were his biggest influences, starting with minor hockey and ending with his retirement. He was a scoring sensation with the Elmira Sugar Kings in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, winning the league scoring title with a whopping 113 points during the 2001-02 regular season.
That big season helped him earn a hockey scholarship at Western Michigan. In his four years with the Broncos, he scored more than 71 regular-season goals and added 84 assists. These are really impressive numbers to put up in NCAA Division I hockey. After Western Michigan he went directly to the American Hockey League, joining the Syracuse Crunch to finish the 2005-06 season. He started the next season in Syracuse but ended up finishing the season in Dayton, Ohio in the East Coast League, where he had 24 goals and 44 points in 57 games.
The next part of his journey was off to Europe to play six years in Germany, leading Bietigheim-Bissingen SC to the league title in 2008-09. That was only the start, as he won two more championships in Germany, and then moved on to Denmark, where his deft scoring touch helped Soenderjyske win a league title. The last part of his European journey took him to Cardiff, where he led them to the only championship in team history. Brent played two years in Cardiff but missed a good part of his second season because of an injury.
Brent has been a part-time player for the Ripley Wolves, but hasn’t lost his ability to contribute offensively and put up points.