Sheffield Steelers’ coach Aaron Fox explains why Liam Kirk is ‘special talent’

SHEFFIELD STEELERS head coach Aaron Fox believes Liam Kirk is a “special talent” after he made a significant impact on the opening weekend of the Elite Series in Nottingham.

Liam Kirk comes under pressure during the win against Nottingham on Saturday. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

The 21-year-old emerged from the opening two days of action in the behind-closed-doors competition as the joint-top goal-scorer, following up his double in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Nottingham Panthers with a strike in the 5-4 defeat to Manchester Storm less than 24 hours later.

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Kirk, an NHL Draft pick of the Arizone Coyotes in 2018, is back with the Steelers for the five-week tournament due to the lack of action in North America because of the coronavirus pandemic. Like many British players in the Elite Series, the Maltby-born winger is hoping to secure a spot on the Great Britain roster for the World Championships which face off in Latvia next month.

Liam Kirk fires past Nottingham goaltender Ben Bowns in Saturday's 3-2 win at the National Ice Centre.

Fox has been an admirer of Kirk’s abilities since first coming to Sheffield two summers ago and believes he could be a star of the current tournament.

“Liam plays with a ton of pace and he has a great wrist shot,” said Fox. “He’s actually one of the guys who has really bought into the system we’re playing offensively, so he’s been a great addition.

“I think he’s a heck of a hockey player and it’s great to see the substance he’s brought at this level as well.

“It’s important for him and the fans in the UK to see what kind of player he is – he’s a special talent.”

The Steelers enjoyed a rest day yesterday but will have a light morning skate today at Ice Sheffield in preparation for tomorrow’s clash with Coventry Blaze at the National Ice Centre (face-off 7pm).

Fox will have to make do without first-choice goalie John Muse, who limped out of the win against Nottingham with a lower body muscle injury.

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