Phantoms bring in Slovak tough guy to bolster their defence ICE HOCKEY
PHANTOMS will go into battle next season with the toughest player in the English Premier League.
That’s the way head coach Jon Kynaston has billed the club’s new import signing - hardman Slovakian defenceman Jozef Sladok.
The 23 year-old has stepped down from Elite League level to join the city outfit and is expected to pack a real punch.
Kynaston said: “Jozef will undoubtedly be the toughest player anywhere in our league . . . and if anyone thinks differently it will make for an interesting evening.
“Jozef is someone I felt we needed in the team. He has size and a simple, solid defensive game.
“He will get the puck to our forwards, create the space we need clearing in front of our net and manage the walls in our zone. In our small rink his frame will be a big obstacle for opponents.
“First and foremost he is here to play the game and he will be a big part of our team, but his arrival also means we have a player who can manage the behaviour of the opposition if required. “He is someone we have been talking to for quite a while and it’s great to get a deal signed and sealed.”
Sladok spent his formative years in his Eastern European homeland and represented Slovakia at the World Junior Championships at Under 17 and Under 18 level.
He spent two years playing for Canadian team Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League before moving on to Texan club Corpus Christi Ice Rayz in the Central Hockey League.
He briefly returned to Slovakia before arriving on these shores during the 2009-10 campaign when being snapped by up Romford Raiders. Their coach at the time was Peterborough legend Jesse Hammill.
Spells at the top level followed with Hull the following year and Edinburgh last season where he enhanced his reputation as a mean customer.
Sladok will be expected to fill the on-ice void left by the departure of last season’s player-coach Chris Allen.