Big contract for ice hockey forward Liam Kirk in Germany

Germany-bound Liam Kirk battling against Canada. Photo by Dean WoolleyGermany-bound Liam Kirk battling against Canada. Photo by Dean Woolley
Germany-bound Liam Kirk battling against Canada. Photo by Dean Woolley
LIAM Kirk's next stop in his globe-trotting ice hockey career is Germany.

It has been confirmed that the Maltby forward will be joining Eisbären Berlin on a lucrative two-year contract.

The team competes in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), one of the highest level of play in world hockey.

Kirk is only 24, but has had an amazing journey so far.

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Sympathy for Ben Bowns after the 8-0 defeat to Finland.  Pic Dean WoolleySympathy for Ben Bowns after the 8-0 defeat to Finland.  Pic Dean Woolley
Sympathy for Ben Bowns after the 8-0 defeat to Finland. Pic Dean Woolley

He played for Sheffield Steelers before trying his luck in Canada and Sweden and being drafted in the NHL, in 2018, by Arizona Coyotes.

Spells in America, Finland and the Czech Republic followed before Sunday's confirmation that he had signed for Berlin.

The announcement will have gone some way towards cushioning the blow of his Great Britain team being hammered 8-0 by Finland on the same day.

Kirk, an assistant GB captain on the day, said later: "I am super excited to be joining such an amazing organisation.

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Liam Kirk checks a Finnish opponent. Pic by Dean WoolleyLiam Kirk checks a Finnish opponent. Pic by Dean Woolley
Liam Kirk checks a Finnish opponent. Pic by Dean Woolley

“The Polar Bears are an incredible and historic organisation with outstanding fans. I can hardly wait to get to Berlin and finally get started. Hopefully we can build on last season's success together."

His new club said the Rotherham skater "will strengthen our attack".

Stéphane Richer, their sports director, commented: “We are pleased that Liam is now playing for the Eisbären. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to sign him.

"He will add further class to our attack.

"Liam is a top striker who has already proven his goalscoring qualities. He can play both on the wing and in the centre position, which makes him versatile.”

Kirk will have to fight for his position in the squad.

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DEL clubs are allowed nine imports on the ice, and Berlin will have 11 to pick from.

Meanwhile, Britain's 8-0 defeat to the world's second best international team, in Prague, was particularly hurtful for Swinton's Ben Bowns, who was in goal.

But Kirk, at least, enjoyed an outstanding match 24 hours later when he scored and assisted in a 4-2 reverse against the number one seeds, Canada.

The World Championships have also been an outstanding test for Kiveton Park's Cole Shudra, whose family has been in the stands in the Czech Republic.

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GB go again tomorrow when they face Switzerland, who are ranked seventh in the world, 13 places above the Brits.

While that may also be a huge challenge, there are points to be had against Austria or Norway in the group.

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