Lightning recruit Czech hot-shot to bolster forward options

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MK LIGHTNING have acted quickly to replace injured import Adam Calder with the addition of Czech-born forward Kamil Tvrdek.

Calder, 34, was injured in Lightning’s defeat to Telford Tigers at the end of October, and is due to see a consultant next week to find out more about his future rehabilitation. Even if he does make a full recovery, the Canadian will be out for at least the next three months.

With that in mind the club have swooped for 29-year-old forward Kamil – a left-winger who has played all of his ice hockey to date in his native Czech Republic. He began his career with his hometown club Karlovy Vary, in the north-west of the country, where he played for nine seasons.

The 2008 season saw a move to Slovakian side MSHK Zilina, before he returned to the Czech Republic a year later, where he has remained ever since.

“We’re an ambitious club”, said Lightning general manager Vito Rausa. “We still have high hopes for this season and we felt that managing with just three import players, while Adam recuperates, would have been unfair – not just on the other players who have to shoulder the extra weight of responsibility, but on our supporters who expect us to put out a team capable of competing for silverware.

“Kamil has had to come and slot into the roster at very short notice, so we hope that although our fans are obviously eager to see us put together a consistent run of good results, that they give him time to ‘find his feet’ and get to know his new team-mates.”

Nick Poole, Lightning’s player-coach, said a lot of hard work over a very short period had resulted in this additional signing.

“Over the last few days we’ve been able to do our homework and draw up a shortlist,” he said.

“We know we’re bringing in a good hockey player who can skate well and will certainly add to our line-up. Kamil has played at higher levels than the EPL, and although obviously there will be an adjustment period, we’re very optimistic and excited to have him in our line-up.

“It’s been a very difficult period for all of us over the last 10 days, so it’s great to see the guys upbeat and ready to impress their new team-mate.

“Lukas (Zatopek) has already been in touch with Kamil, and we hear he’s very excited to be heading to the UK to enjoy the MK experience.”