Ice Hockey: Popular Czech Returns to the Storm



Val-returns-2-768x576Pic taken from: Manchester Storm website

Manchester Storm announced the re-signing this past Thursday of the 6”2 Czech Left Winger Patrik Valcak, as the Storm continue to build for their 2016-17 season. It means another season for the popular #81 hitting the Ice again for the Altrincham side. The man dubbed the ‘Iceberg’ registered 55 points for the Storm in their first season back in British Ice Hockey’s top flight last year and saw him netting 15 goals and 40 assists on what was a tough season at times for the player.

Valcak was signed from the ECHL side the Allen Americans, after the Ostrava-born native had helped his side going on to win the Kelly Cup prior to joining the Altrincham side.  His career to date has seen him not just collecting the Kelly Cup, but also the prestigious CHL Memorial Cup in Canada with the Kelowna Rockets back in 2004. He also went on to capture a French double with Grenoble Brleurs de Loups in 2006-07 season, as he lifted the French Magnus League and French Cup too, before adding another French Cup to his roll of honour the year after.

From there he went to Poland and picked up a Polish League winner’s medal with Cracovia Krakow, as he posted 109 points from 84 games for the Polish side before making the move across the pond to Texas and namely the Allen Americans. Patrik made 45 appearances for the Americans in his stay there, with 20 points that culminated into Kelly Cup success for him.

storm3-1024x683Pic taken by : Mark Ferris

Last season saw the Czech man finding it har to adjust at first with the Storm and eventually saw him coming into his own midway through the year, in which kick started his season off and saw him producing some fantastic performances for the side. One thing that number 81 could never be accused off was shying away, as he dished out some ‘knuckle-sandwiches’ to a few players that took liberties with him and saw him registering 55 penalty minutes on the season.

His big hitting and dropping the gloves weren’t the only reason that endeared him to the Storm fans, it also saw the Czech man showing his silky moves with the puck and scored a couple of lovely goals too. His play both indivually and as a team player impressed both GM and player-coach enough to bring the popular Czech player back for a second season.

Manchester Storm Coach Omar Pacha told the club’s website: “Firstly, I am delighted to have Val back in our line up ahead of the new season. He has size, skill and brings further toughness to our team. I have a clear role for him this upcoming season which we have discussed at length, he will be a physical presence for us mixed in with his play making attributes too. He gives me flexibility in my line up, as he can also play on D which we saw on a few occasions last season. That flexibility, mixed in with Val’s hunger and desire to return to the Storm made it a no brainer for me to bring him back”.

Manchester Storm GM Neil Russell was equally happy to see him back tell the Storm website: “Patrik is a player I liked a lot last season, I thought from around the turn of the New Year he was superb for us, and we expect that level of intensity from him every single night next season. Also, and myself and Pach mentioned this to Val just yesterday, when he played with that edge, the fans really started to identify with him & it was no surprise that they all were almost demanding that he be brought back.”

Russell continued by saying, “The other thing with Pat that I really like is that he is a straight talker, very professional in how he conducts himself, and I think everyone is aware how great a shape he keeps himself in too. We are building a team that covers all bases with size, grit & skill here in Manchester for this upcoming season, and Val will be another vital component in driving the Storm forwards on that front.”


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