Leeds Chiefs reveal first import signing for 2019-20 NIHL National season

LEEDS CHIEFS have revealed the first of their two permitted import players for the 2019-20 season with the signing of Czech Republic forward Radek Meidl.

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The 30-year-old arrives at Elland Road for the inaugural NIHL National season following a year playing in the Elite League with Milton Keynes Lightning.

After two difficult seasons in the UK’s top tier, the Lightning relinquished their place in the EIHL, opting to switch to the newly-formed NIHL National league which gets underway in mid-September.

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As a result, Meidl will face-off against his former club with both teams having been placed into the same conference for the coming campaign.

HELLO: Radek Meidl is the first import to be signed by the Leeds Chiefs for the 2019-20 NIHL NAtional season. Picture: EIHL/Tony Sargent.

Meidl, who represented his country at Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 level, joins player-coach Sam Zajac, defenceman Luke Boothroyd and goaltender Sam Gospel on the Chiefs roster, with more signings expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Before switching to the UK last summer, Meidl spent the majority of his career playing in his own country, as well as stints in Poland and Slovakia.

In what proved a troublesome campaign for the Lightning, Meidl contributed 20 points, including 10 goals, in 52 appearances.

“We’re really excited to get Radek on board for the coming season,” said Zajac.

TEAM BUILDING: Leeds Chiefs' player-coach, Sam Zajac. Picture courtesy of Colin Lawson.

“He’s a guy with great size and an elite shot, and we think he’s going to be a real handful for a lot of defencemen in this league.

“He has experience of playing in the UK after spending last year with the Lightning, so there won’t be that adjustment period that you sometimes get when bringing in players new to the country.

“He is really excited about getting a fresh start with a brand new franchise in a fantastic city.

“Radek is going to fit into our group well and will be a big part of our offense.”

Meidl added: “I can’t wait to meet my new team-mates and see the new rink, as well as the city of Leeds.

“I just want to come and help the team succeed and make the fans happy.”