Josef Hrabal could be free for return to Sheffield Steelers just before Christmas

Josef Hrabal has confirmed he will be back in the ice hockey shop-window just before Christmas.

Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 1:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 1:45 pm

Last week, The Star suggested the polished defenceman might be able to return to Sheffield Steelers despite having signed for Czech team HC Prerov, where he launched his career and has had several previous stints.

But the defenceman's new deal ties him to the city on the Becva River for a few months only.

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And given the uncertainty over when the EIHL season will start for the 2020-21 campaign, Hrabal may complete his obligations at a useful time for Shefffield.

"I signed for my home team until December 15 because it's a great organisation, they always helped me in the past and agreed with everything I need now," he told The Star.

"My second son was born last week so I definitely want to stay home with family these first months.

"After December 15, I will be free and maybe if my family is healthy and the Covid will be more under control, I will try to find other options than playing at home. "

Hrabal acknowledges that if the EIHIL season starts somewhere not too far from the date it normally does, then Steelers would not be able to wait for him.

Much will depend on whether the defensive form of the team has been sound.

However, the 34-year-old is clearly a big admirer of the Sheffield club and the region.

"It is a perfect organisation with great fans," he says.

Josef Hrabal in action for Steelers

"I loved playing with all the players. It was really fun. There were so many talented players.

"All of them were great players and good friends. I don't get impressed by 'hockey style' so easily. Intelligent, friendly people impress me more."

As regards life outside work and Sheffield Arena, Hrabal said he was not the type of person who had wanted to sit around at home when training was over.

"I visited everything I could. I checked what was going on in town every free day. It was a great city for me. Also I went a few times to visit Manchester by train."

Being in the team for the Challenge Cup final victory had also left a lasting, positive memory.

"The best way to finish the season is to win the last game," he said.

"I think all of us enjoyed it because we knew how much all the Steelers' fans care."