MK Lightning have confirmed Czech forward Frantisek Bakrlik has joined the club from the Bracknell Bees.
Bakrlik is a proven goalscorer who will give Lightning a more potent offensive threat as the club approaches the halfway mark in the season, with the EPL Cup semi-finals also looming.
After beginning his career with HC Litvinov in his native Czech Republic, Bakrlik moved to North America in 2000, aged just 17, to play for Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League.
Spells in the South East Hockey League and United Hockey League followed, before he returned to Europe in 2005.
He played in Poland in 2009 and was his team’s top points scorer with 68 from 54 games – beating teammates Milan Baranyk and Tomasz Malasinski, who have also since gone on to make their mark in the EPL.
Bakrlik’s first experience of the British game came in 2009 with the Elite League’s Hull Stingrays – alongside Jack Watkins and Bobby Chamberlain, who he now joins in Milton Keynes.
The following season he signed for Slough Jets where he became their top goals and points scorer by some margin, and finished the third-highest goalscorer in the league.
In 2013 he moved to Manchester, where he became second highest goalscorer for Phoenix as they topped the league and reached the Play-Off Final. The following season reinforced his place in Phoenix fans’ affections when he averaged just under two points per game.
He joined Bracknell during the summer, but with the Berkshire outfit currently sitting ninth in the EPL Bakrlik has decided to look for a new challenge – helping the new-look Lightning in their mission for silverware.
MKL Head Coach Pete Russell said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be able to add a player of Frankie Bakrlik’s quality at this stage of the season.
“He has it all and is known as a game-changer. He has proven his skills in the EPL and I know will add to the attacking threat that we need going into a crucial period of the season.
“When I heard Frankie had become available we moved quickly, and fortunately the pieces all just fell into place.
“He is the sniper we need – I can’t wait to see him in our club’s colours, and I hope our fans are looking forward to it too.”
Bakrlik commented: “I’m very happy about joining a club with great potential to win trophies this season. I heard a lot of good things about Lightning and their fans and will try my best to help them achieve every success possible.”
Bakrlik will make his Lightning debut on Saturday at home to Manchester.
(Image: Richard Amor Allan)