Dec. 11, 2008
Newark, N.J. – Dreams do come true. Just ask former Notre Dame hockey player Tim Wallace `06.
After spending the past two years playing minor league hockey in Wheeling, West Virginia and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa., the call came on Tuesday night. Report to Newark, New Jersey to join the parent-club Pittsburgh Penguins for Wednesday night’s contest versus the New Jersey Devils.
The 6-1, 207-pound right wing saw action in his first game on Wednesday night against the Devils in a 4-1 loss. Playing on a line with left wing Jeff Taffe and center Maxime Talbot, Wallace saw 7:43 of ice time, got his first shot in the National Hockey League and picked up his first penalty minutes when he was whistled off for tripping at 12:36 of the second period.
“I was just in shock really,” Wallace told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review about getting the call.
“I got some chills, and it’s been a pretty exciting couple of days for me. I’m definitely having a great time. I’m just a little nervous.”
The 24-year old Wallace was recalled after playing in 21 games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season where he had four goals and three assists for seven points to go with 31 minutes in penalties. A tough, gritty forward, he has been playing on the Baby Penguins top line for the past seven games.
“My game isn’t that intricate. It isn’t hard to do,” Wallace told the Wilkes-Barre Citizen’s Voice. “And I think if I play my game, it should be fun and help the team win.”
An undrafted free agent after graduating from Notre Dame following the 2005-06 season, Wallace made was signed to a contract after attending a tryout camp with Pittsburgh in the fall of 2006. In his first season, he split time between the East Coast Hockey League’s Wheeling Nailers and the AHL Penguins, seeing action in 51 games with 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points and 62 penalty minutes. He played in 11 playoff games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scoring a goal and an assist.
The Anchorage, Alaska native spent the entire 2007-08 season with the Baby Penguins, playing in 74 games with 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points and 83 minutes in penalties. He played in 22 postseason games as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton advanced to the Calder Cup finals against Chicago. He had two goals and six assists for eight points and 21 penalty minutes.
While at Notre Dame (2002-2006), Wallace was the original “Irish Iron Man,” as he set a school record by never missing a game, playing in 153 consecutive games. He scored 25 goals with 34 assists for 59 points and had 39 penalties for 86 minutes in his Irish playing career. His senior season was his best year for the Irish as scored 11 goals with 12 assists for 23 points to finish fifth on the team in scoring.
A product of the U.S. National Team Developmental Program he was a member of two gold medal teams, helping the Under-18 team to the Under-18 World Championship in 2002 and the Under-17 Team to a gold medal at the Under-17 World Challenge in Jan. of 2001.
Wallace becomes the 15th Notre Dame player to see action in the National Hockey League. He is now one of four former Irish players currently in the NHL, joining Pittsburgh teammate Mark Eaton, the Detroit Red Wings’ Brett Lebda and St. Louis Blues’ player Yan Stastny.