KIRK: I WILL COME BACK STRONGER THAN EVER

Great Britain forward Liam Kirk says he’ll come back stronger than ever after suffering a season-ending injury earlier this month.

The 21-year-old had scored two goals and added one assist in eight matches for American Hockey League side Tucson Roadrunners, but picked up the serious knee injury in the recent game against Henderson Silver Knights.

He has since undergone successful surgery in North America after tearing his ACL.

Kirk signed a three-year entry-level contract with NHL side Arizona Coyotes in June – the team who drafted him in the seventh round in 2018.

“It is so disappointing to get injured but I am focused and determined to come back strong,” said Kirk.

“I know it will be a long process but I am young and have time on my side. Hopefully, this is just a little bump in the road. My aspirations remain the same going forward.

“I just want get back to training as soon as I can and begin the road to recovery. I have received so many messages from people wishing me well and that means a lot.”

Kirk is set to be out for around nine months and will miss next year’s World Championship in Finland.

Earlier this year, he scored seven goals in seven games at the World Championship in Latvia and was named on the tournament’s all-star team.

“Playing for your country is such a honour – especially in the top flight – so I am pretty gutted not to be going to Finland.

“We’ve a great few years as a team, so I am sad that I will not be a part of it next year.

“But I will be watching from afar and cheering on the boys. We have a great team and have made so many strides forward in recent seasons.

“I have no doubt we can be competitive again next year. We have shown over the past two tournaments we can play on the big stage and I am looking forward to seeing what the boys can do.”

Photo credit: Dean Woolley.