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Of course Petr Čech was ‘Man of the Match’ in victorious ice hockey debut

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Winning is winning

As far as marketing exercises go, fourth division Guildford Phoenix struck paydirt (pay-ice?) by signing a 37-year-old rookie goaltender in Chelsea Technical Director Advisor Petr Čech. All eyes were on their game against the Swindon Wildcats 2 yesterday, with both hockey and football media taking in a spectacle usually reserved for less than 100.

To his credit, Čech apparently didn’t do too badly either, backstopping a 2-2 draw in regulation and a win in the shootout (as in the NHL, a regular season draw was followed by one 5-minute period of sudden death 3-on-3 overtime, and since it was scoreless, by a shootout, with the winners gaining an extra point).

“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.

“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.

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

-Petr Čech; source: Sky

Čech stopped two shots in the shootout, and that helped him earn the “Man of the Match” award.

The juxtaposition and mixing of football and hockey terms (“match” v. “game”; “clean sheet” v. “shutout”; “goalkeeper” v. “goaltender / goalie / netminder”; “man of the match” v. “first star”; etc) in the coverage just added the surreal nature of the occasion.

Presumably, far less attention will be paid to Petr Čech’s next hobby the next time he takes to the ice.

P.S.: Čech’s custom helmet unfortunately did not have an homage to his iconic rugby cap on it, but it did have both the Chelsea (woo) and Arsenal (boo) logos, as well as a picture of the Dominator, Dominik Hašek. Čech also wore No.39, which was Hašek’s number for the vast majority of his career (outside of the first couple years in Chicago), and is retired by the Buffalo Sabres.