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Petr Cech: Former footballer produces man-of-the-match display on ice hockey debut | UK News

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Former footballer Petr Cech says he has fulfilled a “childhood dream” after producing a man-of-the-match display on his debut as an ice hockey player.

The ex-Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper saved two penalties to lead the Guildford Phoenix to a shoot-out victory against the Swindon Wildcats 2 in his first appearance on Sunday.

Cech – who retired from football in the summer – surprised the sporting world after announcing he had joined the ice hockey team, having played the sport growing up in the Czech Republic.

Guildford Phoenix goaltender Petr Cech during the NIHL2 match at Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex, Guildford.
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Cech surprised the sporting world after announcing he had joined the ice hockey team

His first match in front of hundreds of fans at the Guildford Spectrum was taken to a shoot-out after the teams were tied at 2-2 at the end of normal play.

Cech, 37, saved Swindon’s first and last efforts to secure his team’s victory before being named his side’s man of the match.

After the game, Cech said: “It is kind of a childhood dream to come and play one game, which has [now] happened.

“Nobody will ever take this away from me, which is really nice.”

Guildford Phoenix goaltender Petr Cech in action during the NIHL2 match at Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex, Guildford.
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Cech saved two penalties in the shoot-out
Guildford Phoenix goaltender Petr Cech wears a helmet with an Arsenal emblem on it during the NIHL2 match at Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex, Guildford.
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The former football star wore a helmet carrying the colours of Chelsea and Arsenal

He added: “If you have a dream and you chase it and you do everything to make it happen… I have done that in football and all my dreams have come true.

“I said, ‘this might be the last dream I was hoping to [tick off]’. But I worked hard for it.

Guildford Phoenix goaltender Petr Cech (left) is greeted by team-mates during the NIHL2 match at Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex, Guildford.

“I think it can act as something for the young players to know that if you chase your dreams, then good things might happen.”

Cech, who wore a custom-made helmet which carried the colours of his former football clubs Arsenal and Chelsea, admitted he had wanted to become an ice hockey player as a child, but his family were unable to afford the cost of the gear.

Guildford Phoenix goaltender Petr Cech (left) huddles with team-mates during the NIHL2 match at Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex, Guildford.
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Cech (L) said he had fulfilled a ‘childhood dream’

He revealed former Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Didier Drogba had sent him good luck messages in the lead-up to his first appearance.

His debut was watched by more than 900 people at the Guildford Spectrum for a fixture which would normally get between 50 and 70 spectators.

Petr Cech fans in the stands during the NIHL2 match at Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex, Guildford.
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More than 900 spectators watched Cech’s first game

Cech confirmed last week he had signed for the Guildford Phoenix, who play in British ice hockey’s fourth tier.

He insisted it would not impact on his role as Chelsea’s technical and performance adviser which he took after retiring from football, having won four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, a Champions League title and the Europa League during his playing career.

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