COVENTRY Blaze have announced the return of Canadian forward Tyler Kirkup on a two-year deal following a successful spell with the club last season.
The 25-year-old made an instant impact following his arrival at Blaze towards the latter stages of the 2022/23 campaign with six goals and four assists in 11 regular season games.
He then scored in Blaze’s play-off quarter-final defeat against Cardiff Devils with head coach Danny Stewart delighted to secure Kirkup’s return.
Stewart said: “Tyler is a guy that wanted something fresh from where he was in the ECHL and he came in and had to be patient for his opportunity.
“He got two goals on his debut in Belfast and continued to play well. He’s very smart, plays in the hard areas and is skilled as well.
“Having a guy that can truly play centre and wing and be comfortable in both positions is huge for our line-up and we’re really happy to get him back.”
Kirkup began his first professional season in the ECHL with the Reading Royals where he played 43 games with 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) before moving to the UK ahead of the IIHF signing deadline.
The 6 ft 1 in Canadian spent his four years collegiate hockey at the well-respected Bemidji State University (NCAA) where he had 48 points (21 goals, 27 assists) in 131 games.
Prior to his college career, Kirkup spent his junior in the MJHL with the Virden Oil Capitals as his 40-goal 2017/18 season saw him lead the league in goals and earn him a place in the second All-Star Team.
British netminder Will Bray will also return for the 2023/24 season but captain Nathanael Halbert will not be part of the line-up after being offered an exciting opportunity in Austria with Innsbruck.