Liam Kirk first English player drafted by NHL team as Arizona Coyotes select winger
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 23/06/18 9:17pm
Liam Kirk has become the first player born and trained in England to be drafted by a National Hockey League team.
Kirk was selected with the 189th pick of the draft, held over two days in Dallas, by the Arizona Coyotes, who used their sixth round slot to add the Sheffield Steelers left-winger.
The 18-year-old scored nine goals for the Elite League team last season before helping Great Britain secure their return to the top level of international ice hockey after more than three decades.
"I don't have any words for [being drafted], I'm just very excited and really emotional," Kirk said. "I've been waiting for it and when it finally happened it was an amazing feeling."
Kirk, born and bred in Yorkshire, follows in the footsteps of Scotsmen Tony Hand and Colin Shields in being selected by an NHL franchise.
Hand was chosen by the Edmonton Oilers in 1986 while Shields was picked by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000.
But neither Hand or Shields was able to crack an NHL line-up and both would eventually return to Britain to finish their career.