Sheffield Steelers: Former player Liam Kirk gives out tips to the next generation of ice hockey stars

There are hundreds of British ice hockey youngsters who would love to follow the career path of Matlby teenager and former Sheffield Steelers star Liam Kirk.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 4:19 pm
Liam Kirk in his Steelers' days.

At iceSheffield, where Kirk's skills were honed before joining the Steelers, his name is said with reverence.

Last summer, Kirk was picked in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by Arizona Coyotes; the first player born and trained in England to be drafted into the NHL.

Currently earning more than a point a game at Canadian team Peterborough Petes in the OHL, Great Britain forward Kirk has a golden future ahead.

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This week, the 19-year-old former Sheffield Rapiers' captain answered a series of questions designed to help iceSheffield youngsters and others get to the top.

The Q&A was carried out by Puck Stop.

Q: How did you make it to be a professional player?

A: I worked hard and always believed I could make it. I got an opportunity with Steelers and used it to learn how to be a professional and what it takes. I worked hard every day I was there to make sure I didn’t let it slip out of my hands.

Liam Kirk

Q: What’s your advice for anyone that wants to become a professional player?

A: There is always someone somewhere working as hard, if not harder, to become a professional. You have to want it more than anything and work for it. You don’t just get to be a professional, you have to earn it.

Q: How did you keep yourself motivated on the journey to becoming a pro?

A: I just was motivated, I always wanted to play hockey, nothing else. If you have to find motivation from somewhere or someone else, then you have the wrong mindset. You have to motivate yourself.

Q: What's your pre-game ritual?

A: I like to listen to some music on the way to the game and I always put my left side of equipment on first. I find being calm but excited best works for me. You want to be ready to go but not overly ready.

Q: What do you do during the off-season to keep conditioned?

A: I work out five days a week. It’s important to be in the best shape as possible and improve on certain aspects like strength and speed so you get better every year.

Q: Do you have any specific diets you follow when you’re training?

A: I tend to eat as much as possible during the summer to gain muscle weight.

Q: How do you pick yourself back up after a loss?

A: In sports, someone has to win and someone must lose. Stuff happens in games that you can’t control so you have to take the positives to build confidence and learn from the mistakes - but don’t beat yourself up about it.

Q: What’s the best way to maintain a motivated team after a loss?

A: Regroup as a team, talk about where you went wrong and where you went right. Stay positive.

Q: What’s the key to successful teamwork on the ice?

A: I’d say having communication and a positive team environment. It’s important to be vocal but in the right way.

Q: What qualities make a good team player?

Someone who buys into their role, keeps positive, doesn’t get down on others if they make a mistake. Being selfless.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

A: Enjoy every moment and believe in yourself. You create your own path.

Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to start playing ice hockey?

A: Have fun! When you start, you play for fun and because you enjoy it. Listen to your coaches and learn as much as you can.

Q: Did you have a weakness on the ice?

A: There is always areas I can improve, my strength is a big one. You can always get better, never be satisfied with where you are. here you are.