SWINDON Wildcats import Jan Kostal says the decision to temporarily replace Tyler Vankleef on the club’s roster for the coming campaign was a simple one.

The 39-year-old Czech skater announced his retirement at the end of last season after the Cats won the NIHL South One title.

However, it has since been revealed that he is to provisionally fill the import spot that was held by Vankleef before the Canadian suffered a blood clot in his leg just weeks before the National League season was due to begin.

With no official return date set for former Bracknell Bees man Vankleef, player-coach Aaron Nell has turned to formed Cats captain Kostal in order to maintain the high talent level in his import-skater spots.

Kostal, who now lives in Swindon, explained how he cut short a holiday in the nation of his birth to return to England and lace up his hockey boots once again for the good of his team.

Kostal said: “I spoke with Aaron and agreed to come back until Tyler is ready to play again.

“He texted me asking if I would be able to help the Wildcats at the beginning of the season and I said: ‘Sure, why not’.

“I had been back in the Czechia for four or five weeks on holiday, but I am very happy to come back and help the team until Tyler is ready to come back.

“I had retired, but I went onto the ice a couple of times when I was in Czechia, and I told Aaron that if they had some kind of injury I would come back.

“I live in Swindon now, so it’s easy for me and it’s easy for Aaron to phone me and ask me if I can help.”

Kostal believes the familiarity within the Cats camp will go a long way in helping them settle quickly in the new National League.

Set to enter his seventh consecutive campaign as a Wildcat, Kostal is looking forward to seeing what Nell’s team can accomplish at a new level.

Kostal said: “A lot of guys have stayed from the last two seasons and we have a lot of experience.

“I think this season will be really good and I am optimistic.

“The pre-season games are important, but the first league game will show how good we really are.

“The young lads are growing up, Neil Liddiard is the oldest, but I am the second oldest and I’m looking forward to seeing how good we can be this season.”