Liam Kirk signs NHL deal with Arizona Coyotes

Liam Kirk will be absent for GB in the World Championships (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Great Britain international Liam Kirk has signed a three-year entry-level contract with NHL side Arizona Coyotes.

Kirk, 21, made history as the first English trained player to be drafted in the NHL back in 2018, and was the joint top scorer in the recent IIHF World Championship.

The betting sites will no doubt be hoping that a British interest in the NHL can promote a surge in interest in the competition over here.

He was a seventh-round pick (189th overall) by the Coyotes and has played two seasons with Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League, scoring 97 points in 110 games. With the 2020/21 season cancelled due to COVID, he returned to Europe to play in Sweden and then played for Sheffield Steelers in the Elite Series.

Earning a spot on the tournament’s all star team, Kirk scored seven goals as Great Britain once again impressed during the Worlds in Riga, registering a famous win over Belarus.

Kirk will be eligible to join the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League from the start of the 2021/22 season.

He told the Yorkshire Post: “I’m looking forward to linking-up with Arizona with an entry-level contract.

“It has always been my dream to play in the NHL so to get this deal with the Coyotes is fantastic.

“I am a step closer to that dream and I will continue to push myself to reach the elite level.”

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What is an entry-level contract?

An entry-level contract (ELC) is the rookie contract that is signed by all players under 25. They are two-way contracts, enabling players to play in the NHL or the AHL. If a player is between 18 and 21, their ELC is for three years. They carry a maximum salary of $925,000.

Liam Kirk’s background

Kirk grew up in Maltby, South Yorkshire, and began playing for the Sheffiled Junior Academy. He played in the EPL for Sheffield Steeldogs and then in the EIHL for Sheffield Steelers on a three-year apprentice contract. He was barely 17 when he made his professional debut.

Kirk made his senior international debut in 2018, helping Great Britain earn promotion to the 2019 World Championship, their first appearance in the elite division since 1994.

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