GLENDALE -- Liam Kirk recently notched his first hat trick in the Ontario Hockey League, and has helped the Peterborough Petes clinch an OHL playoff berth in his first season playing in North America.
The Coyotes, of course, created a global buzz when they selected Kirk, a left wing, with the 189th pick at last year's draft. Per the NHL, he's the first English-born player who was entirely trained in England to be picked in the NHL Draft. He's from Maltby, a city 140 miles north of London.
Kirk ranks third on the Petes with 25 goals in 61 games, an impressive feat considering he scored just two in his first 23 games as he settled into life away from the U.K. He's also chipped in 21 assists for Peterborough.
"As we envisioned, Liam got off to an inconsistent start in Peterborough, adjusting to a lot of change to his life," Player Development Coach Mark Bell said. "However, the last two months he has been more consistent, with him being a threat on most nights. He has grown his game, and has now adjusted well to the North American style. As well as he has played the past two months, we think he is just scratching the surface and there is room for growth in all aspects of his game."
On Thursday, Ice Hockey U.K. announced that Kirk is one of 28 players invited to Great Britain's men's national team selection camp for the 2019 IIHF World Championship coming up in May. Kirk helped Great Britain reach the top division for the annual tournament at last year's second-division championships.
"I had a love for the game from an early age, and I was fortunate that it kind of come to me naturally, the skating side of things," Kirk said before the season started. "I've always loved hockey and I couldn't imagine what I'd be doing without hockey right now."