It’s the stuff dreams are made of. In each of the first three games for the Toledo Walleye this season, a different player made his pro debut. Nolan Zajac, Alex Globke and Mathew Santos can now call themselves professional hockey players.
Zajac, a 5’11”, 180 pound defenseman from Winnipeg, Manitoba, played the past four years at the University of Denver. He made his pro debut on April 14 at Atlanta. “It’s awesome. You dream of playing pro when you’re a kid and you love the game. So far it’s been great.”
For Zajac, a noticeable difference between college and pro is a change in lifestyle. “In college I always had something to do. I had a schedule for the whole day. Now, I have a lot of down time and it’s up to me to be disciplined on how I spend my time away from the rink.”
On April 15, Alex Globke joined the pro ranks when he made his debut with the Walleye at Atlanta. The 6’3”, 205 pound forward from Waterford, Michigan spent the past three years at Lake Superior State University. “It was an honor to play pro for the first time and to come out with the win was amazing.”
Globke says he’s working hard to make the transition to the pro game. “School was very important for me, but now as a pro I get to spend as much time at the rink as I want, and hang out with the guys. It’s the most fun I’ve had since I was a kid.”
Mathew Santos made his pro debut in a Walleye uniform on April 18 at Cincinnati. The 6’, 200 pound forward from Etibicoke, Ontario played the past 4 years with the Brampton/North Bay Battalion of the OHL. “It’s something that you dream of when you’re younger. It’s a great feeling when you think about the hard work you’ve put in over the years to get to this point.”
For Santos, he’s focused on working hard during practices to help adjust to the pro game. “I want to get as much out of each practice as I can. You get out what you put in.”