With fixtures now announced and their return to the Thunderdome closing in, the Milton Keynes Lightning ice hockey team can confirm the name of their penultimate player signing in the form of Czech defenceman Petr Horava.
Petr, 29, was born in Kladno around 30km north west of the Czech capital, Prague. He began his hockey career with his hometown team, HC Kladno and stayed there until he was 20 – a period that saw him selected to represent his country at U18 level at the World Junior Championships. Since then he has gained a wealth of experience in the Czech leagues.
A talent for ice hockey runs in the Horava family – Petr’s father, Miroslav – also a defenceman – enjoyed a long career; in 1981 he was drafted to the NHL and took part in 80 games for the New York Rangers. Petr’s older brother, also named Miroslav, has played alongside Petr at HC Kladno for the last two seasons.
Petr said, “I’m really happy to be coming to Milton Keynes, I think this is going to be a great move for me. I’m looking forward to coming to live in the UK – it’s something new for me and will be my first experience in the British game, but I can’t wait to get on the ice there!”
Commenting on Petr’s signing, Head Coach Nick Poole said: “We’re really pleased to be able to bring in a player with Petr’s background and pedigree. When we made the decision to bring in a new defender we felt we needed to bring in a player that could control the game from the back – someone that was a strong skater and would give us the ability to transition quicker into offense, and who will be a calming influence on our younger players, and we think Petr is that player.
“Petr has played over 250 games in one of the top leagues in Europe and will fit into our team’s system really well. With the addition of Petr, I really feel we’ll have one of the strongest skating D cores in the EPL. Moving to a new country and new league will be a great challenge for him and I know he is very excited and looking forward to getting together with us at the end of this month.”
Petr Horava’s home, away and warm-up league shirts are now available for sponsorship on a first-come, first served basis. See your name, that of a loved one or your business, flashing around the brand new ice pad every week at the refurbished Planet Ice Arena next season. The game-worn shirts will then be presented to their owners at the end of the campaign. Reserve your shirt now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – before someone else does!