American ice hockey or Sheffield Steelers? It’s Yorkshire for me, says Kieran

Steelers sign top prospect Kieran Brown
Steelers sign top prospect Kieran Brown
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Kieran Brown is the boy who turned his back on the American dream - to be a Sheffield Steeler.

The 16-year-old forward had two seasons learning his craft in the junior system run by Iowa Wild, a US franchise in the AHL which is affiliated to NHL giants Minnesota Wild.

The son of Yorkshire loved the lifestyle in the American mid-west, but had no hesitation in returning to his roots.

“There was much less chance of progressing as quickly over there than here” said Bradford-born Brown, who will commute to Sheffield every day.

“I wanted to come back and try to play in the Elite League, rather play against than players of just my own age.

“Not may people actually do succeed in getting up to the top level from ‘Triple A.’

“I really enjoyed it there, though. I had a friend who played over there a year before me and when they looked into me and offered me the chance I took it.”

The Great Britain U16 player explained: “My uncle’s company sponsored me and I stayed with a host family in Des Moines.

“I went to a private school and would go there to study, then play, train and go to the gym, most days.

“But years before, I had started going to Sheffield Arena when I was about 10, I am a Yorkshire lad and they are my team. I have always wanted to play for them.”

Brown, who like Liam Kirk and Cole Shudra was offered an apprenticeship by the Play Off champions, knows he will have to be patient to get into the side.

“I hope for the best, but if it doesn’t happen this season, I hope to get in the following year” said the prospect, who will make ends meet by working as a carpet-fitter.

Asked if he would be nervous playing against veteran imports and former NHL warriors in Britiain’s Elite division, the 10stone 5lbs, 5ft 10ins skater replied: “Not really, I experienced that in training and in camps, I don’t get scared. I will not be intimidated playing for Steelers.”

Team boss Paul Thompson said: “Kieran has an incredible future ahead of him.”