SWINDON Wildcats forward Jan Kostal may have played his last game for the club, but he has no ambitions to leave the town behind in his life after hockey.

The 39-year-old hit the Link Centre ice for the final time in last weekend’s thrilling 5-3 defeat against Telford Tigers – even managing to score a signature goal – as he waved goodbye to the hundreds of adoring fans in red and white.

The Czech Republican powerhouse has been at Swindon since 2013, and although he will no longer feature after ‘the good old hockey game’ has rung around the Link Centre ice pad, he does not plan to move away from his adopted home any time soon.

Recalling his first days at the club, Kostal fondly remembers former head coach Ryan Aldridge collecting him from Heathrow airport and noticing the ‘Welcome to Swindon’ sign that lies just before junction 15 on the M4.

In an emotional post-match interview, Kostal admitted his life will never be the same again as he prepares for life after Swindon Wildcats.

He said: “Every weekend for seven years, I know I have a game, but now that won’t be the case.

“One positive is that I can now watch my son play ice hockey, and I will now have more time for my family.

“But I am sure that I will miss it, of course. I’m sure I will miss it in time because you are preparing for it every summer, but now that’s not the case.

“I will probably gain some weight now, but I feel good.

“I like it here and that’s the most important thing.

“My family lives here, the people are perfect here in Swindon and I have no reason to leave.”

Following a seven-year stint that featured three trophies, Kostal said he loved every minute of his time on the ice – particularly during home games as he was roared on by the home faithful.

The 39-year-old thanked the Nell family, his teammates and in particular, the Wildcats fans with whom he shared a genuine affinity.

Kostal said: “I need to say a big thank you to the fans – they are amazing.

“It doesn’t matter if we are winning or losing, they are always right behind the team.

“It’s a big crowd every week (at the Link), it’s unbelievable.

“And you see how good our fans are when you go to other places in the league and it is not so busy.

“It can be like a theatre at other places, whereas here, it is like our castle when the fans make noise.

“They are like our sixth player and they always try their best to push us towards the win.”