Petr Cech, the longtime soccer goalkeeper for Chelsea and (for a briefer period) Arsenal, will make his professional ice hockey debut on Sunday after signing with National Ice Hockey League (United Kingdom) fourth-division side Guildford Phoenix.
We know what you’re thinking… Yes, really. No, it’s not a joke.
The 37-year-old former Czech international, who is currently the technical and performance advisor at Chelsea, recently trained with another team, the Guildford Flames, after a two-decade layoff as one of the best soccer goalkeepers of his generation. Naturally, he’ll play goaltender when the Phoenix take on the Swindon Wildcats. Cech, in his own words, on his mid-life career change:
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get match experience. 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.”
Phoenix head coach Milos Melicherik said, “He has improved a lot since I first saw him on the ice and I am excited to see him play.”