Former Chelsea, Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to play goalie with English hockey team
The longtime EPL goalkeeper will pursue his childhood dream of becoming a pro hockey player
Petr Cech is trading in his headwear and day job between the pipes for...well, another piece of headwear and different day job between the pipes. The former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper announced this week that he'll be changing sports and signing on as a goaltender for the Guildford Phoenix ice hockey club in England, a semi-pro team that plays in the fourth tier of British hockey.
Cech, 37, said he grew up as a big hockey fan in the Czech Republic and is excited for the career shift.
"I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get the match experience," Cech said in a statement released by the club. "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."
Cech has said that hockey was always his first choice of sport but the financial strain that came with buying hockey equipment eventually led him to a career in soccer. But even as he carved out a great career in soccer, Cech continued playing hockey, though mostly as a side hobby. He began practicing with the Phoenix in August, and that opportunity evolved into a contract with the club. He's expected to make his debut for the team this weekend.
Cech spent 14 seasons in the English Premier League and is widely considered one of the best goalkeepers in EPL history. He was a mainstay in net at Stamford Bridge for 10 seasons, winning four Premier League titles and a Champions League title with Chelsea. He spent the final four seasons of his career with the Gunners before retiring at the end of last season.
With such a strong legacy in soccer, it's pretty stunning that Cech is trading in his soccer kit for a hockey sweater, but it's cool that he's not afraid to pursue a childhood dream of his, even in his late 30s.
He won't completely be leaving soccer behind, though, as Cech will continue to serve as an advisor for Chelsea even as he laces up the skates.
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