How ex-Sheffield Steeler Rob Wilson rates Liam Kirk

Liam Kirk's performances on this side of the pond are being closely monitored by his coach 5,500 miles away in Canada - a man who has played his own part in Sheffield ice hockey history.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 5:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 5:45 pm

Maltby's Kirk is playing for Sheffield Steeldogs in a Government-sanction NIHL Spring Cup, rather than his regular side Peterborough Petes, in Ontario.

Kirk scored 2+2 in last Sunday's 7-2 romp against Raiders, which means, in total, he has scored eight goals and four assists in the tournament so far.

That's an average of three points a game!

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Petes' coach is Rob Wilson, the trophy-winning Steeler captain who chalked up 317 games for Sheffield in the 1990s.

The Star set up a question and answer session with the former Great Britain skater, to find out how he merits Kirk, 21, and how he keeps a transatlantic eye on him, now he is temporarily away from the OHL.

Q: Describe Liam Kirk's development at Peterborough.

A: Liam is a good kid who wants to learn.When he first came it was a big adjustment for him, he was far away from home for the first time and playing in the best junior league in the world, that is not easy for any man!Liam is very coachable and wants to get better, he is well-liked by his coaches and his team mates.He has improved in all areas, he is maturing into a young man and his game has got better on a daily basis.

Q: Sum up his strengths, weaknesses and leadership potential.

A: Liam has definitely grown into being a leader with the Peterborough Petes, he is a very good teammate and leads by example.

His strengths are he is a strong skater with very good skills, he has good hands, a good shot and the ability to make plays, very good offensively and also is responsible on the defensive side of the puck.

Liam Kirk, left, in action for Steeldogs v Raiders. Pics courtesy of Podium Prints

His weaknesses are his offence comes naturally but he needs to continue working on his defensive play.

Q: Are you watching him on the web and do you reckon this Spring Cup experience will be good for him?

A: Yes this is a good experience for Liam. I am very happy that he is playing as it’s important to keep playing so he is ready when we can go.

Q: What is the latest covid situation where you are - do you think it's likely there will be any OHL play in the foreseeable future?

Rob Wilson in his Steeler years

A: No news yet on the Covid situation and hockey but we are hopeful.

Q: For those over here who don't really understand the league system over there, is your team/league essentially for young men on their way up?

A: It is the number one development league in the world, these are all youngsters trying to become professional hockey players.

Q: Flashback time:1: what is your most satisfying memory of Sheffield and 2: Who was the best player you played with in the UK?

A: 1: Scoring the winning penalty against Nottingham Panthers and winning the double then the Grand Slam at Wembley, great memories. 2: Jason Lafreniere.

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Jason Lafrernier