on Saturday when he became the first player

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DALLAS (AP) Liam Kirk was on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean Custom Nashville Predators Jerseys , about 4,600 miles away from Dallas,born and trained in England to be selected in the NHL draft.Early in the seventh and final round of the draft, the Arizona Coyotes took the 18-year-old Kirk with the 189th overall pick .”To finally see my name on the board was just incredible,” Kirk said by phone from England. ”And to get a call from the GM was even better, just to know that’s the place I’m going. And that’s what I’m aiming to be, and to play my NHL career.”The 6-foot, 161-pound Kirk played this season for Sheffield Steelers in the Elite Ice Hockey League, the highest level of competition in the United Kingdom www.officialdevils.com , and for a team where the average age is 28. He had nine goals and seven assists in 52 games for the Steelers in his second season with the team.Even though cricket and soccer are much more popular sports in England, Kirk already was dreaming about playing for Sheffield when he was only about 6 years old and going to Steelers games with his parents and older brother. He started to learn about the NHL within a couple of years.Tim Bernhardt, Arizona’s director of amateur scouting, said NHL Central Scouting identified Kirk. The Coyotes then sent one of their scouts in Europe to see him, and more followed.”He’s a thin kid, needs a lot of physical development, but they said he’s got a good idea of the game, and his natural skills were very good,” Bernhardt said.Born in Rotherham New Jersey Devils T-Shirts Authentic , Kirk this year became the first player born and trained in England to attend the NHL’s pre-draft scouting combine in Buffalo. Now he is the first to be drafted, and he wants to be the first to play in the NHL.”I just want to prove myself, and prove I can play,” said Kirk, who will soon move to North America to start playing here.The Coyotes were among the teams that met with Kirk at the combine, and he knew there was a chance that they would take him. But he didn’t know for sure while watching the draft with his family.His name finally got called Saturday night in England, six hours ahead of Dallas time, where it was early afternoon when he got picked.”He wants to be here. He’s coming over here to play now,” Bernhardt said. ”He’s played in the men’s league. It’s hard for him to find a spot to play because he’s too good for the juniors. … You’re not going to find that kind of skill in the seventh round New Jersey Devils Hoodies Authentic , so let’s go for it and see where we can get it to.”— LOS ANGELES (AP) A judge has dismissed a misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction against former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, a move that could clear a path for his return to the NHL.The judge granted Voynov’s request to dismiss his conviction on Monday – over the objection of Los Angeles County prosecutors – three years after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse.Police said he punched, kicked and choked his wife at their Redondo Beach home in October 2014 after a fight that began at a party attended by other Kings players. He served almost two months in jail and voluntarily agreed to return to Russia after he was taken into custody by U.S. immigration officials.The Kings terminated Voynov’s $25 million contract in 2015 but with his conviction overturned, he can request a hearing with the NHL commissioner to apply for reinstatement.Prosecutors opposed Voynov’s request to dismiss his conviction and argued in court papers that it is ”impossible to determine” whether he met all of the conditions of probation after his plea because he returned to Russia.A doctor told the court that Voynov had completed 28 domestic violence counseling sessions but noted the couple had a ”lack of emotional awareness and difficulty to communicate effectively,” court documents said. The counseling, prosecutors argue, was not sufficient to satisfy the legal requirement after his plea.Voynov played on a team composed of Russian athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics earlier this year. His attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press by email that Voynov’s status has not changed but that he can now proceed with a petition for reinstatement.The Kings said in a statement to The AP: ”Any decision to reinstate Slava Voynov into the league is in the hands of the NHL. It is premature to comment prior to the NHL’s ruling.”Voynov’s agent didn’t immediately reply to a text message seeking comment late Monday.—AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.—