BRACKNELL Bees have signed Pavel Strycek in their continued pursuit of the English Premier Ice Hockey League play-offs.

Defenceman Strycek, hails from Lukas Smital and Martin Masa's home town of Brno and is well known to the Bees forwards, who train with him each summer.

Strycek, 29, has spent the last few seasons playing for VSK Tecknika Brno in the Czech 2 Liga, his third stint at his local club.

This year he has been in prolific form, picking up 21 points (1 goal and 20 assists) as the league's top-scoring defenceman and helping VSK into second place in the Central Division heading into the Christmas break.

Strycek has combined his senior ice hockey career with success in inline hockey, where he has regularly been called up to represent the Czech national team in the Inline International Hockey Committee World Championships, playing alongside National Hockey League stars such as Ales Hemsky and Karel Rachunek. The highlight of Strycek's inline career was winning gold medal in the 2011 Championships.

Strycek arrives as a replacement for Marcel Petran, who suddenly left the club at the start of December to join Arlan Kokshetau in Kazakhstan.

Bracknell Bees' head coach Gareth Cox said: "At this time of year it is not easy to quickly pick up players of the right quality, we have had to be patient and explore a number of options before securing Pavel's signature.

"He is well known to Smits and Marty, who are convinced that he'll fit in perfectly with our plans for the second half of the season.

"He is a skillful defenceman who reads the game extremely well and I'm sure that he'll easily slot into things".

Strycek is expected to make his Bracknell debut in the crunch clash with rivals Slough Jets at The Hangar this Saturday (6:30pm face off).

**PICK up a copy of the Bracknell News, out Thursday, for all the latest sports news and action** **FOLLOW us on Twitter @BerkshireSport1**