Edinburgh Capitals have announced the signing of Czech winger Karel Hromas.
The 30-year-old, a fourth round pick for Chicago Blackhawks in the 2004 NHL draft, ultimately did not make the grade in North America but went on to play close to 400 games in the Czech top flight. He has twice been a former team-mate of Capitals player-coach Michal Dobron at Sparta Prague and, more recently, Morzine in France where Hromas has played the last two seasons, scoring 16 goals in 58 games.
Despite what seems a modest scoring record everywhere he has played, Hromas averaged a point every five games in the Czech Extra Liga.
Dobron was keen to bring the powerfully built 6ft 1in forward to Murrayfield and said: “I can see Karel being a very important player for the Capitals. He is a strong, physical forward who is excellent on both the power play and penalty kill. In Morzine, I saw a player who is fast and has a hard shot. He’s a good skater and will give everything for the team every time he plays. He’s also a great character to have in the dressing-room. He lifts a team with his sense of humour.”
Capitals co-owner Scott Neil has urged fans to look beyond plain statistics and added: “The more I hear about Hromas both from Michal and other respected players in the game the more I realise what a quality addition we’re getting here. You don’t play 400 games in one of the best leagues in Europe unless you have something about you.
“When you put a team together, it’s all about building blocks and getting players to play specific roles. In Karel, we have a player who’s very good at what he does and has a ton of experience doing it. In terms of scoring, we’ve still to sign our big guns on that front.”
Hromas revealed Dobron’s recent appointment as player-coach played a big role in his decision to come to Edinburgh. He said: “I loved my two years in France. It was great to experience a different country and a different style of hockey. When I got the chance to experience another European league by coming to Edinburgh I didn’t hesitate a minute.
“I think the city looks fantastic and all the guys I know who have played there have said it will be a great experience. Hockey in the UK is a good level and getting better every year, so it will also be a new challenge for me. What I really want is to help the team make the play-offs and help the Capitals play hockey the fans like. Michal Dobron knows me. He knows what to expect from me, and that also played a big part in me saying ‘yes’ to this opportunity.”