Liam Kirk created a massive buzz for UK ice hockey in 2018 when Arizona Coyotes picked him in the seventh round of the NHL Draft – and now another Liam could be set to follow in his footsteps.
One of GB’s brightest young prospects is 17-year-old Cobham-born defenceman Liam Steele, who last month was named on the NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary watchlist.
His current ‘C’ rating means he has the potential to be picked in the NHL Draft next year in the fourth, fifth or sixth round.
Ice Hockey UK’s National Talent Identification Officer, Mark Beggs, said: “He’s an outstanding player and has been for some time, particularly his under-15 year that saw the biggest change in his ability to dominate a game.
“When I’m speaking to scouts, his biggest strength is the ability to push the play and the high risk, high-reward style he brings will only get better in the tougher challenges he will face.
“Make no mistake about it, he can flat out play and he has a few more levels to go. I’m very confident he will reach them as he is a great kid, level-headed and very determined young man.”
Steele is in his second year with Stanstead College in Quebec, Canada and looks set to be play for NCAA side Cornell University from the 2022-23 season.
His head coach at Stanstead, Matthew Thompson, said: “I’m excited to see current captain Liam Steele on the NHL Draft watchlist.
“Liam’s hockey journey from England to Canada continues to be a wonderful story. We are proud of you Liam. Continue to work hard everyday, your story is just beginning.”
Steele, who has just been named in the Great Britain U20s squad for December’s Division II Group A World Championship in Romania, played in the UK as a junior for Guildford and Bracknell.
UK ice hockey writer Mark Rackham, who has followed his career closely, said: “Liam was named captain of Stanstead before the season began.
“This speaks volumes to his work ethic, character and the high esteem he is held in by his coaches and peers. He is the real deal and is a player that fans both sides of the ocean should be keeping a keen eye on.
“Steele has shown a propensity of being gifted offensively in the junior ranks but perhaps, more importantly, is a right-shot defenceman which is an ability highly valued right now.”