Great Britain and Sheffield Steelers star Liam Kirk gets his shot at the big time with Arizona Coyotes in NHL
Robert Dowd believes his Sheffield Steelers' pal Liam Kirk will now go on to enjoy a glittering future in the NHL.
The 21-year-old, who took the World Championships by storm in a Great Britain jersey recently, has signed a three year entry level contract with Arizona Coyotes, according to hockey agent Daniel Milstein.
The American giants drafted the Maltby winger in 2018 and possess his rights for another year.
Kirk now appears to have agreed a two-way contract with them, his undisclosed salary dependent on the league he is assigned to play in.
He could ice for the Coyotes or the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League in the 2021–22 season.
Coyotes' scouts were clearly impressed by Kirk's displays in the Worlds.
He matched Andrew Mangiapane's (Team Canada/Calgary Flames) goal output - and Mangiapane was ultimately named the MVP of the tournament, which puts the Maltby lad in exalted company.
Today Dowd, a GB and Steelers' team-mate, reinforced that saying: "Young Kirky had the tournament of his life, which was awesome and I am absolutely buzzing for him, it was the perfect time for him.
"To peak like that, at a tournament like that, was fantastic," said Dowd.
The forward may need to clap on some weight to be competitive in the top leagues in north America.
But Dowd says: "Look how young he is...his body hasn't fully developed yet
"There is so much more progression to go - yet at the World Championships he skated with and outscored all the NHLers that were there! Playing against those fellas, he never looked out of place."
Dowd and Kirk are currently training together, along with Cole Shudra, Alex Graham and Jonathan Phillips, under the watchful eye of club conditioning coach Danny Mawer.
Dowd is still on a high after GB's performances in Latvia.
"Personally, I'd like to have done better, you always want to do a little bit better.
"But I was happy the way we did as a team, we were excellent, we defended great.
"The first time we were at that level we were in awe of the situation and there just to enjoy it. But this year we went to cause an upset and we did, going close against world class teams and beating Belarus.
"We were not even in the same stratosphere as Belarus a few years ago."