It would have been little surprise had the son of one of the biggest rock stars in the world - Rod Stewart - pursued his father's great sporting passion of football.

Yet not only is Liam Stewart treading a very different sporting path but he has become an expert in a very unglamorous and often dangerous specialist role.

Stewart junior can be found this season playing ice hockey at one of the British Elite League's top clubs, Coventry Blaze, where he will continue a professional career that began in North America.

And far from being one of the star goalscoring forwards that one might expect from the Los Angeles-raised offspring of Stewart and his ex-wife Rachel Hunter, Liam will, quite literally, be putting his body on the line.


'I love it,' said Stewart, talking exclusively to Sportsmail about his role as one of Coventry's defensive forwards and penalty killer.

'I get more satisfaction out of blocking shots than I do scoring a goal for some reason.

'I don't know why, but my coach in the juniors gave me a lot of praise for doing that so I took that under my wing and ran with it. I've broken my foot a couple of times and last year I shattered my ankle, but it's all part of being a hockey player. It's all healed now and I'm ready to go.

'I don't mind grinding it out in the corners and maybe a fight here and there. I won't be the guy who goes out and instigates it but if something happens I'm fine.'

That means Rod and Rachel's boy, who makes his competitive Coventry debut on Sunday against Nottingham Panthers in the city's Sky Dome, will throw his body in the way of pucks travelling at close to 100mph to stop his team conceding goals.

'You never worry about injury because in that split second when you're going down you don't think about it, and when it hits you it's quite the feeling you get,' smiled Stewart, who turns 22 on Monday. 'There's no fear.'

So how did the son of a singer, who is as big as ever at 71, get to be a professional ice hockey player and what does dad think about it?

'He's supportive but he would have loved it more if I'd played football because that's his sport,' admitted Stewart. 'He loves coming to watch me play, he enjoys watching the sport, but I'm not sure he's always been sure of the rules. I've said to him, "All you have to worry about is when we score, Dad." I'm sure he will come to watch me at Coventry but he's got a UK tour and that takes in gigs at Belfast and Sheffield so he might see me at away games.'


Stewart caught the ice hockey bug when his parents took him to see one of the biggest clubs in the world - the New York Rangers - when he was four.

'I played football up until I was 14 but I'd been at a New York Rangers game when I was younger and it had made a big impact on me,' said Stewart. 'I said to my mum, "This is what I want to play".

'As soon as my junior side Spokane came calling I thought it might be a sport where I could go somewhere and here I am playing professionally.'

Liam spent last season with Alaska in one of the North American minor professional set-ups, the East Coast League, where he revelled in the anonymity of just being 'Stewie' the grinding ice hockey player.

But he knows there will be far more attention on him in Coventry because of his famous father. 'I'm used to being the son of Rod,' he said. 'I'm not ashamed or embarrassed about it. Obviously coming back to the UK is going to spark a bit more interest in me but I'm just going to go along with it and have fun.'

It is a sign of how highly Coventry regard their newcomer that they have signed him in one of their prime import roles as he is considered an overseas player because of his American upbringing rather than his London birthplace.

'I do feel British even though I've got this American accent, so it feels like I'm coming home,' said Stewart. 'I'm British, but I'm definitely a proud Kiwi too, because my mum is from New Zealand - and I've got the tattoo to prove it!'

He will now be closer to his dad's sporting love. 'I'm a football fan but not like the guys here who know every player in every team,' said Stewart. 'We've got a fantasy league in Coventry and somehow I'm top right now which is surprising.

'I hope to catch a couple of games here and there to build up my knowledge of the old game. I try to be a fan of Celtic, like Dad. He keeps me updated, that's for sure.'

And no doubt Rod is a fan of Coventry Blaze now too.