VIDEO - Jonathan Kirk praises influence of Hull Pirates player-coach Jason Hewitt

JONATHAN KIRK has hailed the influence of Hull Pirates' player-coach Jason Hewitt after guiding the club to a memorable treble-winning season.

Jonathan Kirk, pictured with brother Liam after winning the NIHL National play-off title in Coventry.

After a season of near-misses in 2017-18, the 35-year-old former GB international resolved to avoid similar disappointment for the East Yorkshire club 12 months on, delivering the NIHL North One, Northern Play-off and National Playoff titles in the space of three remarkable weeks.

The former Sheffield Steelers' forward has already been signed up to return for the 2019-20 campaign which will see his team tested on a more regular basis with the formation of the new 10-team National League.

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And defenceman Kirk, who played such a key role in Hull's triumphant 2018-19 campaign, believes Hewitt is the kind of inspirational leader who can lead the club to further honours once the new second-tier era gets up and running.

Jonathan Kirk, pictured with brother Liam after winning the NIHL National play-off title in Coventry.

"He’s done so much for me personally and for everyone as a team, he brings us all together," said Kirk. "He is generally a lighthearted guy when he’s in the room, but when he needs to be serious, he’s serious. So he is perfect for us, everyone has followed him and everyone has bought in.

"He’s the perfect example of somebody who leads by example. Every game, if we need a big goal he has come up with it, he’s pulled through for us so many times."

Kirk admitted winning the National play-off title 5-4 in overtime against Peterborough Phantoms was made all the more special by having his family in Coventry's SkyDome Arena, including younger brother Liam, the former Sheffield Steelers' forward who was back from a successful first year in North America with Peterborough Petes in the OHL.

"I’ve not seen him (Liam) since Christmas and it’s great for him to be back," added Kirk, 23. "I wish they’d have done better in the play-offs over in Peterborough.

"It was really nice to have them all here, my other half, my mum and dad, iyt’s so special, my step-brother. The support they have given us through the years and bringing us up with hockey, that made it more special for them to be there."