Bo Jackson. Deion Sanders. Petr Čech? The list of two-sport stars might have just grown by one, though admittedly in much less demanding fashion. While Jackson and Sanders succeeded at the highest levels of baseball and football, Čech made his debut as a hockey goaltender on Sunday in the fourth-division National Ice Hockey League South 2. Top flight or not, the Premier League legend was still shockingly good on the ice.
In his first match for Guildford Phoenix, the former Chelsea and Arsenal netminder made three saves in a deciding shootout against Swindon Wildcats 2, including the game-deciding stop after a 2-2 deadlock:
Look at his little celebration! For a guy who has won the Champions League, you’d think winning a game as part of a top team’s developmental team—the Phoenix are the second team for top-tier side Guildford Flames—wouldn’t compare. But, according to the Guardian, Čech had been a Guildford fan since moving to Chelsea in 2004 and a hockey fan all his life, so his excitement makes sense.
Čech called the experience a “childhood dream for me to play even one game of ice hockey.” Whether this was just a publicity stunt with a bit of dream-fulfillment on the side—the crowd of 909 was a new record for Guildford Phoenix—or the start of a new journey for the 37-year-old is yet to be seen. But one thing became clear on Sunday: The reflexes that made Čech one of the best goalies of the millennium translate rather well to the ice.