Rob Wilson, the former Steelers’ captain, is casting an opportunistic eye in the direction of Sheffield winger Liam Kirk, whose name is in the NHL entry draft.
Wilson, new coach at Peterborough Petes, a major junior ice hockey league club for players aged 16–21, has been making discreet inquiries about the 18 year old. Players drafted for teams in the Canadian Hockey League-registered system (like the Petes) are normally ineligible to play up in the professional minor leagues (AHL, ECHL) until they are 20, so Wilson is on the prowl.
Kirk has said he hopes to land in a CHL side, although there are no shortage of admirers all over north America. He has been interviewed by representatives of 10 NHL teams.
At least one seems sure to sign him and then send him down to a level where he can blossom.
Kirk, from Maltby, has acquitted himself will in past week’s NHL assessment camp in New York State, telling the media about his unique draft selection: “I hope it kind of paints a picture to a lot of people that England is a hockey country and there’s good players coming out of Britain.”
Wilson, 49, who starred for Steelers in the 90s, recently left Nürnberg Ice Tigers in Germany’s DEL to take over the OHL-club Peterborough, another one of his former clubs.
He maintains links with Sheffield - and could be an attractive destination for Kirk.