Liam Kirk: Maltby lad won't change in 'millionaire' lifestyle

Liam Kirk has proved it is possible to teach a Bulldog new tricks.

By Bob Westerdale
Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 11:42 am

'British Bulldog' Jason Hewitt has been training and skating with the Arizona Coyotes' NHL prospect in recent weeks.

And the veteran who turns 38 this month admits it has been an education to see how rapidly the 21-year-old has developed.

"He is actually better than I thought he was," said Hewitt, who has just signed a two-year deal with Sheffield Steeldogs.

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"The biggest change over time has been his skating, obviously he has had proper skating coaching and he just seems to have taken it in like a sponge.

"He is the next level of skating, we went on the ice the other day - the things he can do and the way he can move is quite scary, really.

"It is the way he can shift gears, it is almost instant. It's hard to explain but it's about his body position.

"When he is twisting his hips out of a corner and you have to stay on him he just seems able to push another stride ahead of you without doing too much, it's quite the thing to be fair.

Liam Kirk playing for Steelers.

And does Hewitt think the lad from Maltby - who has penned an NHL Entry-Level Contract with Arizona - will change if he becomes a millionaire star in the world's greatest division?

"One hundred per cent he'll always stay the lad from Maltby - he'll just have nicer clothes on!" laughed the former GB player.

"We are all super-happy for him. Sometimes you can run into jealousy when people do so well. But guys who skate with him, Jonathan Phillips, Robert Dowd, Ben O'Connor, Cole Shudra are all pleased for him, he deserves everything he gets."

Hewitt said Kirk's progress through the junior ranks in Sheffield cannot be compared with his own at Altrincham in Manchester.

Jason Hewitt up the wing, pic by Podium Prints

"He has a natural God-given skill, such good hands and is a completely different player than anything I was at his age, he is unbelievable to see.

"He was probably more committed than I was when he was 15-16.

"I was not in a place like he was where he could see the Steelers across the road, I was not thinking I was going to make it a living, I just enjoyed the sport" said Sale born Hewitt.

"Liam was lucky to be in Sheffield with such good coaching and facilities and Steelers and Steeldogs provided every step he needed for his development."

Liam Kirk, pic by Karl Denham.

Kirk says he has been privileged to have had such support growing up, especially close to home.

"I want to thank everyone who has played a part in helping me to achieve this goal," the winger posted on Instagram.

"I especially want to thank my Mum and Dad for everything they have done to allow me to play the sport I love. JK, for being an amazing brother and role model. Alisha, for all the love and support you have given me on my journey."