Former Premier League goalkeeper Petr Cech signed with the Guildford Phoenix ice hockey team, based in Surrey, England, on Wednesday.
Cech, who retired from professional soccer at the end of last season, will play goalie through the end of the current season on a one-year deal. The 6-foot-5 native of the Czech Republic began training with the club soon after his retirement.
“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,” said Cech.
On Sunday, he featured for the team for the first time at home to Swindon.
The 37-year-old played 15 seasons in the English Premier League, spending 11 of those with Chelsea before moving to North London and playing four seasons with Arsenal. He finished top of the table four times and also won the Champions League in 2011-12. Cech retired at the end of last season and returned to Stamford Bridge to serve as a technical and performance advisor for Chelsea. He remains on the staff in that role but will also play out the remainder of Guildford’s schedule for the 2019-20 season.
Guildford Junior Ice Hockey Club, founded after the opening of the Guildford Spectrum in 1993, features six age levels ranging from the under-nine Firestreaks up to the NIHL2 Phoenix. The adult team competes in South Division 2 of the National Ice Hockey League, a set of semi-professional cohorts one level below the top-tier Elite Ice Hockey League. Guildford competes against five other teams located in Southern England and currently sits second in the table after two games. The Phoenix play once a week, and the regular season runs through the end of March.
“The signing of Petr is massive for the Phoenix. He is a great guy who trains hard, and I cannot wait to see him make his debut,” said Phoenix head coach Andy Hemmings.