Former Arsenal and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech says he is excited “to play the game I loved as a kid” after switching football for ice hockey.
Cech, who has expressed a love for hockey in the past, ended his 20-year football career in the summer after leaving Arsenal, and has now signed for National Ice Hockey League team Guildford Phoenix.
How did Cech end up playing ice hockey? Five things to know…
- Cech grew up watching and playing ice hockey but chose a career in football.
- His love of ice hockey was revived in England when a friend introduced him to Guildford Flames.
- The goalkeeper has trained with the Flames in the past and has now signed for Guildford Phoenix.
- He will remain in his role with Chelsea as a technical and performance advisor.
- Cech will play as a goaltender, which is ice hockey’s version of a goalkeeper.
The former Czech Republic international joined Arsenal in 2015 after a successful spell with Chelsea, for whom he won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League among other major honours.
Upon his retirement, the 37-year-old took up a role as technical and performance advisor at Stamford Bridge, a job he will continue with despite agreeing to play for Guildford Phoenix.
And Cech can’t wait to get started as he prepares to play his first hockey match for the club.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get match experience,” Cech told Phoenix’s official website.
“I hope I can help this young team to achieve their goals for the season and try to win as many games as possible when I have the chance to play.
“After 20 years of professional football this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid.”
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“Some people seem to think I changed my job”
Cech was quick to clear up any confusion about his ongoing role with Chelsea, using Twitter to confirm he will carry on in his job at Stamford Bridge.
“Some people seem to think I changed my job. No I didn’t,” he wrote. “Luckily my job as the technical and performance director at Chelsea FC doesn’t stop me in my spare time from playing the game I loved as a kid and which I’ve been playing for years.
“While being a professional footballer I couldn’t play the game for obvious reasons… now I can.”
— Petr Cech (@PetrCech) October 9, 2019
Meanwhile, Phoenix head coach Milos Melicherik said: “We are very excited to have Petr join the Phoenix team and we are looking forward to seeing him in action this weekend.
“He has improved a lot since I first saw him on the ice and I am excited to see him play.”