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Czech Mate for the Steelers as Martin Latal joins the club.

Czech Mate for the Steelers as Martin Latal joins the club.

Czech Mate for the Steelers as Martin Latal joins the club.

The Sheffield Steelers will once again have a Czech flavour to their side after head coach Aaron Fox confirmed the signing of 33 year old forward Martin Latal.

Despite playing two years of junior hockey in Canada this will be Latal’s first spell outside his home land since turning professional in 2008.

Latal has played 14 years straight in the Czech Extraliga for various sides including Kladno, Boleslav, Dynamo Pardubice and last year with HC Litvinov.

“We are looking to continue the success we have had with our Czech connection in bringing Martin to Sheffield” said Fox

“Martin is considered one of the fastest players in the Czech Extraliga.

“I’m sure he will come in and be a dynamic player who I think with his speed will fit perfectly into our up-tempo pace driven style of play.   As well, he’s excellent on the PK and I think playing him with the right guys will open up his offensive game”

Latal believes that playing in Sheffield will be the new challenge he has needed for the last couple of seasons “I think I have played in the league here at home for long enough” he said

“My agent called me and told me about Sheffield’s interest and it took just one call from Aaron for me to make my mind up

“I needed fresh air, a new challenge and from what I have been told Sheffield is just the place for that to happen”

One of the people encouraging Latal was Marek Troncinsky, the Steeler who tragically lost his life earlier this year “Marek and I played together since we were 16 in the Juniors at Kladno and then with the national team.

“From the moment I signed we were in touch every day looking forward to playing together once again. What happened to him was tragic and we were all devastated with the news”

Steelers fans can expect to see speed from Martin Latal “Yes, I skate well, skating is what I am known for over here. It’s my number one thing.

“I can play in both ends of the rink and in the past have played offensive and defensive roles. Aaron tells me that he is expecting me to play an offensive game in Sheffield next to some very good players and I’m looking forward to that”

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