SLOUGH Jets are pleased to announce their search for a replacement Head Coach has successfully concluded and Lukas Smital will take over at the Montem Lane-based club.

As well as taking over as Junior Head Coach, Smital will also become Head Coach of the Slough Jets National Ice Hockey League team, with Joe Ciccarello remaining on as assistant coach.

The former Bracknell Bees Head Coach is a well-known name around the UK hockey scene. The Czech right winger first came to the UK in 2004 after a successful career in both the Czech Republic and America, making his debut with Bracknell in the British National League.

Two further seasons followed in Berkshire when the Bees dropped to the English Premier League before a move to Surrey and four seasons at the Guildford Flames.

He returned to Bracknell in the 2011/12 season as Head Coach of the Hornets and Player/Assistant Coach of the Bees.

He took over the coaching duties of the Bees full time on December 4 2013, a position which he retained until this last summer. For the 2016/17 season, as well as a player and Head Coach, Smital was part owner of the team.

With a change in ownership at Bracknell and in EIHA league structure, Smital became available and was an obvious candidate to take over as Head Coach of the Slough Jets.

Slough Jets General Manager, Steve English said: “We always knew that Ben Pitchley would be heading back to Romford when the new arena opened but the timing caught us all out.

"When Tony Milton informed me due to his business becoming more successful he would be stepping down as senior Head Coach, I was delighted when Lukas became available and expressed and interested in joining us here.”

Royal Borough Observer:

PHOTO: Tony Milton has stood down as head coach at Slough Jets.

Smital brings with him a great record in junior development, collecting four EIHA awards for Best Development Club of the Year during his eight-year tenure in charge of Bracknell Ice Hockey Club.

He was also recognised as the runner-up last year in the Pride of Bracknell awards for his hard work and commitment to ice hockey.

Smital also brings an honest, hard-working and professional attitude. He is known for his dedication and determination.

As Head Coach, Smital will focus on players as his number one priority. He has proven at Bracknell that his attention to detail in training, together with his motivational skills, will ensure he can implement a programme for the players to be best placed to make the smooth transformation from juniors to seniors.

He is also looking to take over the senior team and build for the 2017/18 season in Silverblades, before taking the Jets back home in 2018/19 when the team moves back into the permanent rink.

On signing with the Slough Jets, Smital commented: “I'm very excited to be joining the Jets hockey programme. Slough is a hockey club with great history and a lot of potential.

“Developing young players has always been a passion of mine and I'm glad I can continue this journey and oversee their development ffrom junior to senior hockey.

"I would like to say thank you to Steve for giving me the opportunity to help them to lead the club in the right direction.”

English concluded: “Lukas and Joe know each other well and will make a formidable coaching team as we look to build for the 2017/18 season at Silverblades Slough.”

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