Cech, soccer legend, gets in net against Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Petr Cech has traded in his goalie gloves and cleats for pads and skates.

Cech, thought of one of many biggest soccer goalies of all time, donned hockey gear Tuesday and Wednesday to get between the much-smaller pipes and face Chicago Blackhawks shooters at their apply facility.

“Of course, you are dealing with the highest gamers in the world,” mentioned Cech, who performed in the Premier League with Chelsea from 2004-15 and Arsenal from 2015-19. “You need to count on all of them have an excellent shot and clearly being intelligent and in management whenever you face them. At the tip of the day, you attempt to do the identical factor. You attempt to fill the gaps and attempt to learn, which is more durable. But total, I actually loved it. It’s a priceless expertise for me to get on the ice and check out it out.”

Cech, who was invited onto the ice by a pal Petr Mrazekthe Blackhawks’ actual goalie, now performs semipro hockey for Chelmsford of the National Ice Hockey League South Division I in the United Kingdom.

Mrazek mentioned he is been engaged on getting Cech into an NHL net for a number of years now. Opportunities to do it whereas Mrazek performed for the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs have been thwarted attributable to COVID-19. In early December, Mrazek mentioned he bought the OK from Blackhawks normal supervisor Kyle Davidson, coach Luke Richardson and goaltending coach Jimmy Waite to have Cech be part of them.

“Yeah, he seems like an actual goalie, I might say,” Mrazek mentioned. “You would not say he by no means performed hockey, he solely performed soccer.”

Video: Petr Cech performs goalie against the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks additionally tried their hand — er, foot — at Cech’s sport, seeking to convert penalty kicks against Cech on a soccer subject on Monday. Mrazek additionally had a flip in that aim.

“He’s undoubtedly higher than me in a soccer net, as a result of I felt just like the net was 5 occasions greater than it really is,” Mrazek mentioned.

Mrazek mentioned Cech might be on the United Center on Thursday to look at the Blackhawks play the Colorado Avalanche (8:30 pm ET; NBCSCH, ALT, ESPN+, SN NOW) earlier than he returns to London on Friday.

Blackhawks ahead Andreas Athanasiou mentioned he was fairly impressed by Cech.

“He’s fairly clean on the market,” he mentioned. “He performs [hockey] somewhat bit, so you possibly can see he is fairly comfy on the market. I grew up watching [soccer] and taking part in somewhat bit at the very least, so I do know who he’s. Pretty cool to get the chance to take some penalty pictures on him, go on the soccer subject with him and clearly him come on the ice.”

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