Arizona Coyotes prospect Liam Kirk, first born and trained UK player to be drafted into the NHL, was taken 8th in the CHL import draft by the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League earlier today.
Kirk had expressed an interest in playing in the CHL were he to be taken in the NHL draft to acclimatise him to the style of play in the US and promote his development before taking steps towards the big leagues.
There’s a connection between the Petes and the UK, head coach Rob Wilson played nineteen seasons of professional hockey, ending his pro career in Britain’s Elite League, with the Newcastle Vipers. Coach Derrick Walser was a player coach with Belfast before his retirement from pro hockey.
With Wilson and Walser behind the bench, if any CHL team were to draft Kirk, it’s not surprising that it was the Petes. Speculation, for weeks, had been that Peterborough had expressed interest, and we’re glad to see that the rumours have come to fruition.
This is the natural next step in Kirk’s hockey career, and he has all British hockey fans behind him, cheering him on. The Petes might find themselves with a larger British following than they’re accustomed to coming into next season.
He’s still a few years away from the NHL, or even the AHL, but these are the crucial steps he has to be taking, and the CHL is certainly better than him coming back to Europe.
You can find the Peterborough Petes’ schedule here, if you’re looking to follow along with Kirk in the coming season.
Feature image credit: NHL.com