Lightning sign up Zatopek as squad takes shape

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LUKAS Zatopek will return to Lightning’s defence for the 2011/12 English Premier Ice Hockey League season.

The 33-year-old was voted as the club’s most valuable player in 2010/11, as well as Supporters’ Club Player of the Season.

Signing for Lightning in 2008 gave the Czech native his first opportunity to play in Britain and he made his mark immediately, becoming the team’s top goal and point scoring defenceman in his maiden season.

In his second season he helped Lightning to the league title, and last season was a pivotal part of the roster which went all the way to the EPL play-off final in Coventry.

Vito Rausa, Lightning’s general manager, said: “We know Lukas has attracted a lot of interest from other teams but he told us that he wanted to stay and was happy to wait until the finances were in place.

“And thanks to the generosity of some of our Supporters’ Club members, those finances are now in place. Our fans never cease to amaze us with the lengths they’ll go to, to prove their support – and they’ve proved it again by reaching into their pockets even when money’s tight for everyone.

“This will be the fifth season running that the supporters have ‘adopted’ a player and we’re very grateful for that.”

Lightning’s squad is now nearing completion, with six other players re-signed and one new addition.