Martin Látal bids farewell after two seasons with Sheffield Steelers

Martin Látal has said goodbye to Sheffield Steelers.
Martin Latal playing against Manchester StormMartin Latal playing against Manchester Storm
Martin Latal playing against Manchester Storm

The flying Czech winger told club officials that he'd loved his time in the EIHL but that it had now come to an end.

The 35-year-old finished his two-year term at Sheffield in disappointment.

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He never won any silverware in the UK, and returns to the Czech Republic on the back of last Saturday's semi-final play-off loss to Cardiff Devils.

Martin Latal and retiree Brendan ConnollyMartin Latal and retiree Brendan Connolly
Martin Latal and retiree Brendan Connolly

Látal only scored one goal in his last 13 appearances although he had impressive scoring spurts in October and December.

The super skater, selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the fifth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, will be remembered fondly by the Orange Army for his almost outrageous speed and non-stop energy.

It prompted the question of whether he was the fastest player ever to have donned a Sheffield shirt.

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That question was posed on Twitter. Some of the replies included:

The party is over for LatalThe party is over for Latal
The party is over for Latal

* Tyler Mosienko could turn on a sixpence, Ken Priestlay had good speed/stride, season one Steve Nemeth probably was the one who enjoyed the best speed difference against the opposition - even while playing 40 plays minutes a game. Ivan Matulik had a bunch of coast to coast goals that were pure speed (from Matt Daniels.)

* 1: Latal 2 Kent Simpson: 3 Brent Bobyck (Junied Shahid.)

* I think we forget the Magical one, Mark Dutuaiume. He was exceptionally fast. I think Martin beats Simmer, Bobber a close call. Jonno (Phillips) a couple of years ago would be right there with them. (Dave Simms.)

*I think Neumann is the better technical skater, I would guess better acceleration/agility/turn speed. Latal likely still fastest in a straight line that I've seen in my time following (SteelerJB.)

*Markus Nilsson could fly too (Steve Silkstone.)

*Anthony Deluca (hockeysteve8719.)

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Latal's farewell, made privately but emotionally to the club hierarchy, is one of several such goodbyes which will be said.

Forwards Jonathan Phillips and Brendan Connolly have retired, while it's highly unlikely that defenceman Calle Ackered, dropped from the semi final last Saturday, will be back.

Marco Vallerand has yet to have discussions with the club, he told The Star recently.

Those committed by contract to next season are Robert Dowd, Brandon Whistle and Sam Jones.

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In March last year, Coach Fox and his assistant Carter Beston-Will signed a new three-year deal with Sheffield, the longest appointment of its kind in the club's history.

*The Elite Ice Hockey League and Motorpoint Arena have agreed on a new partnership to keep the Playoff Finals Weekend in Nottingham for the next six years.

Sheffield Arena, it seems, is never a candidate because of the distance between Broughton Lane and the city centre.