GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — When the NCAA passed a ruling letting college athletes monetize their success with the use of their name, image, and likeness, Gophers men's hockey player Sammy Walker wanted to do more than just endorsements.
“It’s important for me to develop my own brand,” says the rising senior and Gopher captain. “And not kind of sell that to someone else. And have my own thing and show everyone who Sammy Walker is.”
With that in mind, Walker is starting his own Sammy Walker Hockey Camp this summer. It's a place where young players can learn the game, have fun and get to know some of their favorite Gopher players.
“This is something that I have always wanted to do but I couldn’t,” said Walker. “I have always enjoyed working at camps. There have been a ton that I have worked at.”
The camps, which will be held in August in Richfield and Cottage Grove, will give kids two ice sessions a day, skills training and games.
“It’s kind of just all the stuff that I liked to do when I was that age.”
It’s a lot of work for a college kid. Especially for one like Walker, who could have easily just collected a check from endorsements. But he viewed this opportunity from the NCAA as more than just a payday.
“It’s something I enjoy doing that interests me and being able to give back,” Walker says. “Yeah I had opportunities to go that way. I saw no point when I can do something I really enjoy doing."
Using who he is and what he’s about – and hoping to make the most of out of both.