Canadian Steeler tips Brit for the NHL big time

Liam Kirk could be well on his way to securing the chance-of-a-lifetime in the NHL.

By Bob Westerdale
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 10:36 am

That's the view of Canadian admirer Aaron Brocklehurst a former Sheffield Steelers' player who himself didn't quite make the grade at the top level.

Kirk is currently in the shop window, playing for Great Britain in the World Championships in Latvia.

The Maltby forward scored in each of GB's first two games, against Russia and Slovakia.

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"Everybody knew Kirk had NHL aspirations, as I did growing up, but then I realised it was probably not something I would attain" said Brocklehurst.

"Kirk has a chance. I first saw him in pre-season training camp and you could tell he is the type who could do well, he had the skill and drive.

"Right now his focus will be on GB where he will have to approach things game-by-game and produce each time.

"The scouts and agents will be looking at where he is now, relative to where he could be in the future.

GB Liam Kirk on the puck, pic by Dean Woolley

"I definitely think Kirk can make the NHL.

"He is only 21, can put on a few pounds and continue to work on his skills. Look at what he is doing in the World Championships, he is up against some of the best and doesn't look out of step."

Brocklehurst says that even if the South Yorkshireman doesn't immediately make the NHL - he has a year left under the wing of the Arizona Coyotes - he could still leverage an opportunity via the AHL.

Arizona's affiliated team Tucson Roadrunners could be an option.

Aaron Brocklehurst playing for Sheffield, pic by Dean Woolley

"Kirk can succeed that way especially if he plays among the top nine forward positions and is used on the power play."

Kirk has also triggered interest from a club in Sweden - which could also boost his profile, if north American opportunities fizzle out in the short term.

The Brit will have benefited enormously during his development by his association with Steelers, says 'Brock.'

"That was a very close team when I was there, there was Jonathan Phillips, with his leadership skills who could control the (dressing) room and Davey Phillips who could light up the room with his sense of humour.

"Then there was Tanner Eberle, a fans' favourite who had such work ethic.

"Aaron Johnson, with his NHL experience, could also control the room either through his play or through his vocals. And (coach) Aaron Fox always got the best out of us. I have got a lot of respect for

them all."