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NHL? Sheffield Steelers starlet has to conquer Elite League first

Liam Kirk: Sheffield Steelers protege
Liam Kirk: Sheffield Steelers protege
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Liam Kirk says he won’t be getting carried away after being linked to a possible NHL future.

An American website said that the 17-year old’s development had not have gone unnoticed over the Atlantic.

Kirk’s emergence “has set off the radars of NHL teams who are most certainly taking a look at the kid” said CPB Sport.

“Possessing speed and lightning fast hands, Kirk who is draft eligible next year will be looked at throughout the season. Many have stated that he should head to Sweden or take the CHL route.”

Kirk told The Star that he had been flattered to have been associated with the world’s best leagues.

“It was nice to read that, it was flattering, but I try not to think about things like that, really. There’s no point in putting pressure on myself.”

Kirk said there would be enough people wondering whether he was good enough for the British Elite League let alone to be drafted overseas. He said it was important to focus on the details of now, rather than the future.

But he admitted: “Ofcourse it is the dream of any young hockey player to play in the NHL.”

And if he did make it, he said, then the fact that an English trained skater had made it to the biggest stage would inspire others in the UK.

Kirk says coach Paul Thompson is mentoring him into becoming a better all-round player. While his offensive output is highly promising, defensively he has much to learn.

The teenager admits he sometimes “makes the wrong play” but is learning at every match and practice session.

Kirk will line up against Nottingham on Sunday for the first of the season’s meetings with their biggest rivals.

He rates them “30 per cent” better than last year and says he has been impressed by their form and results in the CHL.

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