Sheffield Steelers make swoop for TWO Czech goaltenders

Sheffield Steelers have netted TWO Czech goaltenders..and are in the happy position of not knowing who their "No. 1" will be in the coming weeks.

By Bob Westerdale
Wednesday, 07 August, 2019, 06:00
Pavel Kantor

Coach Aaron Fox has had contracts accepted by Pavel Kantor - whose name was published by The Star last week after speculation he was on his way to the UK - and Tomas Duba.

Duba is 11 years the senior - which should make for a novel twist in selection terms.

Fox will play the goalie in the hottest form - and have a British back-up, yet to be signed, on the bench.

Tomas Duba

The coach declared he was "very happy with our goalie tandem...and I expect them to be difference makers for us.”

As we reported, Kantor, 27, has had three loan spells in the last two seasons and is ready to claim a spot for himself.

He is seen as a rising star - and if I was a betting man, I'd consider him likely to play the most games.

But form can be unpredictable, so we must wait and see.

His countryman Duba, is 38, an experienced figure who will be hard to displace if he gets a decent run.

Fox said: "Pavel is a big athletic goalie coming off a solid year split between two teams in the Czech Extra-Liga which I consider to be a top League in Europe.

"He moves extremely well for his size, is square on pucks, and really battles.

"He plays a new age style and looked really good on film. He is excited for the opportunity to come in and help us win games."

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“Tomas is a veteran goalie who has played in all the top leagues in Europe and has put up high end numbers in each stop.

"He is extremely professional and everywhere he has been his coaches have loved him.

"He plays a very technical game, reads the play extremely well and should give us a chance to win every night he’s in there.

“I am looking forward to be able to run with whoever has the hot hand throughout the year.2

Six feet two Kantor arrives from the Czech top division where he had spells with both BK Mlada Boselav and HC Ocelari Trinec last season.

The 2019-20 EIHL season will be Kantor’s first playing outside the Czech Republic.

Duba was drafted in the 7th round of the NHL entry draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001.

The netminder played his junior hockey in Praha and went on to represent his nation at the U18 and U20 level at the World Championships.

In 2001 he moved to Finland, signing a two year contract with SaiPa.

He returned back home for the 2003 season and since then has spent his time on home soil and away in Europe with Lexsands (SHL), Assat (Liiga), Bolzano (Italy) Krefeld (DEL) and Klagenfurter (EBEL.)

Last season, Duba moved to the Asian League with Gangone where he posted a saves average of 92.1%.

Steelers say both men will play over the weekend after next in the friendlies against Czech side HK Poprad (£10 tickets.)