How Marek Troncinsky helped Sheffield Steelers recruit top Czech Martin Látal
Tragic Marek Troncinsky's last contribution to the Sheffield Steelers' cause was to inspire a Czech pal into signing for the club.
And today the EIHL organisation formally announced the signing of former junior international Martin Látal.
Sheffield say they owe a debt to defenceman Troncinksy, who sadly passed away in May.
He had previously been a positive influence on Látal, who is described as one of the speediest skaters in the highest-level of hockey in the Czech Republic.
Sheffield said 'Tron,' who had also signed a contract at the Arena for 2021-22, "had been one of the people encouraging Látal" to join up.
And the 33-year-old right winger confirmed this saying: "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" said the six footer.
"What happened to him was tragic and we were all devastated with the news.”
Other than two years of junior hockey in Canada, the UK venture will be the newcomer's first spell outside his home land since turning professional in 2008.
Látal, who was selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft has spent the past 14 years playing for various clubs in the Czech Extraliga.
In the last four seasons, he has turned out for four different sides.
“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 (Fox; coach) 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.".
The player says his reputation in the Republic is for the quality of his skating
“It’s my number one thing,” he admitted. “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 am looking forward to that."
Fox commented: "We are looking to continue the success we have had with our Czech connection in bringing Martin to Sheffield.
“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 Penalty Kill and I think playing him with the right guys will open up his offensive game.”
That is presumably a reference to the player's points tally, he scored five points in 41 games last season, but on a team (Litvínov) that struggled at the wrong end of the table.
In the previous year, he scored 15 points in 46 games for Dynamo Pardubice, who similarly struggled.
Meanwhile, the EIHL is awaiting clarity on how the Covid lockdown situation will affect clubs north of the border.
The Fife Today website has reminded fans that the First Minister’s next update on restrictions easing in Scotland isn't until August 9.
"That would leave just seven weeks for the Kirkcaldy club - and fellow Scottish teams Glasgow Clan and Dundee Stars - to finalise their plans for the long-awaited return to action" reports Allan Crow.