Stepanek won’t be back at Phantoms

Petr Stepanek.
Petr Stepanek.
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Czech giant Petr Stepanek won’t be a Peterborough Phantoms player next season.

Coach Slava Koulikov has confirmed the departure of the 6ft 5ins import forward after one campaign in the club’s colours.

Stepanek piled up 71 points - thanks to 32 goals and 39 assists – while helping Phantoms finish fourth in the English Premier League, and reach the cup final, last term.

But the city club are now planning for life in the re-branded second tier of the sport – the Premier Ice Hockey League – from next season when they will only be permitted to sign three overseas players, rather than the five allowed last season.

Koulikov said: “Petr won’t be back, but I want to thank him for everything he did for us. He is a good guy with a great shot, and was a big part of the team.

“I had a tough decision to make due to the import limit coming down and I wanted to let Petr know the situation as early as possible.”

Koulikov gave no clues about the identities of the import players he does plan to recruit for 2017/18.

Speculation suggests Australian ace Wehebe Darge, who arrived in the early weeks of last term, is unlikely to return.

Kolulikov does hope to be able to announce a British signing at the club’s end-of-season awards bash tonight (Thursday).