Former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech on Wednesday said he was swapping football for ice hockey after signing to play for a British league team as a goaltender.
The 37-year-old Czech, who retired from playing in the summer and retains his job as Chelsea Technical Director, said he was reigniting his passion for a sport he first played as a youngster by penning a deal with the Guildford Phoenix.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get the match experience,” Cech told the club’s 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.”
Guildford, who were founded in 2017 and based just south of London and near where Cech lives, are in the fourth tier of Britain’s ice hockey system.
Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League during his Chelsea career, with a further FA Cup success coming at Arsenal.
Chelsea clarified Cech’s role in the club, in a story on their website: that the goalkeeper will only play for Phoenix when his schedule permits.
“It has been announced on Wednesday evening that our former goalkeeper and current technical and performance advisor Petr Cech is to play competitive ice hockey.
“The 37-year-old will play as goalie (netminder) for Guildford Phoenix which is located close to where Cech lives. When his Chelsea Football Club schedule allows, he is ready to help them in their league games”, Chelsea wrote.
‘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”, Cech said.