NEW SIGNING: Petr expects to be great in the UK
New Peterborough Phantoms import Petr Stepanek is excited about the prospect of playing in the English Premier League.
The city club confirmed the capture of the Czech power forward last night (July 1) – two months after it was first mooted.
Stepanek is a 26 year-old, who stands 6ft 5ins tall and has spent the vast majority of his career with Third Division outfit HC Zdar nad Sazavou in his homeland.
But he is relishing the opportunity of making a name for himself at Planet Ice after hearing good things from his countryman and new team-mate, Ales Padelek.
Stepanek said: “I wanted to have a new hockey experience and a different culture away from the Czech Republic.
“Ales has given me a great reference about Phantoms and that made this club my number one choice.
“I am a big, strong guy and with Phantoms’ great defence and my scoring ability, I don’t think opponents will like to face us.”
Stepanek’s arrival was finally made official only a day after Phantoms confirmed another open secret – the departure of fellow import Milan Baranyk.
He was then unveiled by the club’s fiercest rivals, Milton Keynes, yesterday despite Phantoms’ attributing his exit to ‘family reasons’.
Stepanek is currently playing in Australia for the Sydney Ice Dogs before arriving in England close to the start of the 2016/17 season.
He completes Phantoms’ set of four imports along with fellow forwards Padelek and Darius Pliskauskas, and netminding star Janis Auzins.
Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov said: “Petr is a big guy who can skate well, is strong on the puck and has a good shot. All of those things are important in this league.
“He had a great last season in terms of goalscoring and I hope that will continue when he joins us.”
EPL clubs are now permitted to ice five imports, but Phantoms have opted to stick at four as in previous seasons.