Liam Kirk: Arizona Coyotes man has half a million reasons to succeed in NHL

Liam Kirk has a half a million pound incentive to make the grade in the NHL.

Sunday, 8th August 2021, 1:56 pm

The former Sheffield Steeler is desperate to make his way in the world's top league and his three-year entry-level contract with Arizona Coyotes has been a huge step forward.

But nothing is certain in elite sport and the 21-year-old Maltby man will lose out on a small fortune if he doesn't cut the mustard at NHL level in upcoming training camps.

The South Yorkshireman will be more focused on reaching the required standard rather than his immediate pay packet.

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Liam Kirk and Steeler admirers, pic Dean Woolley.

But Coyotes are a transparent, modern organisation and have been happy to discuss the arrangements - financial and otherwise - between themselves and Kirk.

A Coyotes' official told The Star: "Liam will be invited to attend the Coyotes' rookie camp in September (dates yet to be announced) at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona (their home base, close to downtown Phoenix.)

"If he plays well at rookie camp, he will be invited to attend veterans' camp.

"It will be up to Head Coach Andre Tourigny and General Manager Bill Armstrong to determine if Liam will be offered a roster spot on the Coyotes or if he will be assigned to the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League (AHL)."

Kirk signs for Coyotes.

The club explained: "He is on a two-way contract, meaning he earns one salary if he plays in the NHL and a different salary if he plays in the AHL (Tucson Roadrunners.)

"If he makes the Coyotes' roster, he will have a base contract (minimum amount Kirk can expect to earn and the minimum paid to a professional NHL player) of $750,000 (around £539,500) plus he can earn an additional $55,000 (around £39,500) in bonuses.

"He would earn $65,000 (around £46,700) if he plays in Tucson."

Throughout the crucial training camp assessments, the Great Britain forward, 21, will be provided with a hotel room and a "per diem" allowance towards his lodging, meals, and incidental expenses.

Kirk playing for Steeldogs. Photo: Andrew Bourke.

No stone will be left unturned by Coyotes' management to ensure the former Sheffield Steelers and Steeldogs' star will fit in.

"The team provides transportation to and from the arena and airport for all practices, games and team events" said Coyotes.

"He will be responsible for securing his own vehicle, if he wants one, after training camp and securing his own accommodations once he receives a housing letter from the Coyotes or Roadrunners."

There is no reason to suggest the 106-game Steeler will suffer from homesickness, after all he had a couple of years at Peterborough Petes in Ontario, Canada, and enjoyed a 12-game experience at Hanhals Kings in Sweden more recently.

But Coyotes say they keep a pastoral eye on all young players hoping to break through.

"The Coyotes’ and Roadrunners’ coaching, training and team services staff do an excellent job checking in on players to make sure they are doing well throughout training camp and the regular season" said the NHL club.