LATEST NEWS: Petr the great is back, but Darius departs the Peterborough Phantoms

Petr Stepanek (left) is back for Peterborough Phantoms next season.
Petr Stepanek (left) is back for Peterborough Phantoms next season.
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It’s one import in and one import out at Peterborough Phantoms.

The city club have drafted giant Czech forward Petr Stepanek back for a second spell at Planet Ice in the 2018/19 season, but long-serving Lithuanian international Darius Pliskauskas will not return.

Darius Pliskauskas has left the Peterborough Phantoms.

Darius Pliskauskas has left the Peterborough Phantoms.

Stepanek racked up more than 70 points when representing Phantoms in the final English Premier League campaign of 2016/17. He also became a big hit with the Bretton faithful for his willingness to drop the gloves if required.

Head coach Slava Koulikov said: “Petr is a gifted offensive player with a good skill set and a big shot.

“We saw the quality he can bring to the club during his last season with us. Combine that with his physicality and he should be a very effective player for us.

“He is a great addition and we all look forward to his return.”

Stepanek spent last season in his homeland when impressing for third division side HC Zdar nad Sazavou.

His return to these shores means Lithuanian international Pliskauskas’ four-and-a-half season stay at Phantoms is over.

Pliskauskas followed coach Koulikov to Peterborough from Slough Jets in December, 2013 and was a star of the club’s play-off winning side of 2015.

The 37 year-old, who racked up close to 300 points during his time with the city outfit, suffered a serious knee injury in the final NIHL Division One South regular-season game of last term, but is understood to be keen to continue playing.

Phantoms’ other import slot is again expected to be filled by Czech veteran Ales Padelek.

The club are set to request to stage home fixtures on Sunday nights again next season after a move to Saturdays last term.