Peterborough Petes coach Rob Wilson says he’s enjoyed working with Liam Kirk and couldn’t hide his pride after the GB star was given an NHL entry level contract with Arizona Coyotes.
Wilson, a former player with Newcastle Vipers and Sheffield Steelers among others, has worked with Kirk in the OHL after his drafting to the NHL three years ago.
And the 52-year-old paid tribute by revealing Kirk has done the hard work to earn a life changing opportunity in the sport.
“He’s really worked hard and wanted the opportunity,” Wilson on this week’s BIH Show podcast. “I’m really proud of him – everyone at Peterborough is proud of him – and he’s been great to work with.
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“Liam came over and wanted to do well and took it upon himself to improve. It was tough for him in the first few months and he’ll tell you that himself plus I’m not the easiest to work with at times too.
“He knew really early that I wanted it for him and he became aware everyone in Peterborough wanted it for him too.”
Wilson represented GB in his playing career and his years playing in the UK helped to provide a connection with Kirk as he made his way over to the OHL.
LISTEN: The new episode of The BIH Show features Kruise Reddick, Rob Wilson and Allan Crow, who discusses Fife Flyers – available now from your podcast provider
The Petes coach believes that background helped the pair to bond, but Wilson insists he didn’t treat him any differently.
“I consider myself and my family as British,” he added. “My dad was in the RAF and I’m very much Queen and country so when Liam came over, I wanted him to succeed. There was no doubt about it.
“I didn’t treat him any differently than the other guys and at times, I was hard on him, but he and his parents knew this was an opportunity for him and there was work to be done.
“I would say my background in having played in the UK certainly helped the relationship between us. I couldn’t be prouder of him and the opportunity he has ahead of him.”