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How ex-pro footballer Petr Cech made the transition to Ice Hockey

Petr Cech’s professional career

Petr Cech retired from professional football in 2019 after 20 years playing at the highest level for the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal. He was the most capped player for the Czech Republic with 124 appearances for his national side. He won multiple, prestigious trophies, including the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and the UEFA Cup. He was a renowned shot-stopper and is the only goalkeeper in Premier League history to have amassed over 200 clean sheets (202). It is fair to say that he is well versed in the skills required to keep nets clear!

Cech himself always admitted to being a huge fan of ice hockey and was regularly a spectator at games in Britain and the NHL. So, it wasn't the biggest surprise when he announced that he would like to try his hand at playing. The thing that raised eyebrows was at the level at which he began.

The British league isn't considered the best in the world, but it is still a professional standard. When Guildford Phoenix (a second-tier side) decided to sign Cech as a backup goaltender, people looked on to see how he would make the transition.

His debut in the Phoenix team

Athletes switching disciplines is rare and usually not advised. It rarely ends in success. Recently we have seen famous examples of this with Connor McGregor boxing with Floyd Mayweather, two sportsmen who surely could be among the most eccentric in sport. The same with Usain Bolt, who tried football once he retired. Both have had disappointing performances compared to their brilliant careers. 

With Cech’s background in ice hockey as a youth and the new role requiring similar qualities and attributes to his old one, would Cech be able to adapt quickly enough to play at the level?

In his debut appearance for the Phoenix he went some way to answering any potential critics or sceptics that there may have been. Cech put in a man-of-the match-performance, producing some superb saves in the 2-2 draw with Swindon. The game went into overtime and as no one managed to grab another goal to clinch it, it went to penalties. Cech saved the very first penalty and also the last, to crown a fine first match!

He has since gone on to back this performance up by winning the Player of the Month award for January and, in total, has made 5 appearances for his new club, with more to come in future seasons.

The love and passion for the game

Cech's love for the game came after watching the Czech Republic national ice hockey side. 39 is his jersey number when he plays for the Phoenix, a tribute to Dominik Hasek. He truly relishes the opportunity he has been given: “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”. Cech is still involved in football as a performance advisor at Chelsea Football club, although he is finally playing the sport he fell in love with at a young age.


It appears that Cech’s early background in ice hockey has helped him adapt more quickly to the professional game. His know-how and extensive skillset, gained from years of goalkeeping practice, ought to make success a lot more achievable. Another thing that Guildford will certainly hope he brings to the club is the winning mentality that he possesses. Winners know how to win, and it doesn’t matter what sport you are in, experience of winning is gold dust.

It remains to be seen whether the Phoenix can move up through the leagues, but as a relatively young club (formed in 2017) they will be looking to experienced heads for guidance in their quest to move up the rankings and ascend the leagues. If they are to rise, as their name suggests, their new ‘rookie’ signing could be the key to unlocking this potential!

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink



The guy is ho huge he probably covers 90% of the net just standing.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/28/22 at 05:24 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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