Petr late than never for Horava and Lightning

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Milton Keynes Lightning have struck a deal with Czech defenceman Petr Horava for next season.

Petr, 29, was born in Kladno around 30km north west of the Czech capital, Prague.

He began his hockey career with his hometown team, HC Kladno and stayed there until he was 20 - a period that saw him selected to represent his country at U18 level at the World Junior Championships.

Since then he has gained a wealth of experience in the Czech leagues.

A talent for ice hockey runs in the Horava family - Petr’s father, Miroslav - also a defenceman - enjoyed a long career; in 1981 he was drafted to the NHL and took part in 80 games for the New York Rangers.

Horava’s older brother, also named Miroslav, has played alongside Petr at HC Kladno for the last two seasons.

After signing, Horava said: “I’m really happy to be coming to Milton Keynes, I think this is going to be a great move for me.

“I’m looking forward to coming to live in the UK - it’s something new for me and will be my first experience in the British game, but I can’t wait to get on the ice there!”

Head Coach Nick Poole said he was very excited about bringing in a player of Horava’s quality to the Thunderdrome

He said: “We’re really pleased to be able to bring in a player with Petr’s background and pedigree.

“When we made the decision to bring in a new defender we felt we needed to bring in a player that could control the game from the back - someone that is a strong skater and will give us the ability to transition quicker into offense, and who will be a calming influence on our younger players.

“We think Petr is that player.

“Petr has played over 250 games in one of the top leagues in Europe and will fit into our team’s system really well.

“With the addition of Petr, I really feel we’ll have one of the strongest skating D cores in the EPL.

“Moving to a new country and new league will be a great challenge for him and I know he is very excited and looking forward to getting together with us at the end of this month.”