MELICHAR ATTACKED ON NIGHT OUT WITH BEES By Alan Manicom
December 14, 2005
The 27-year-old Czech ace was assaulted after leaving a nightclub in Kingston-on-Thames in the early hours of Sunday.
Players had arranged a pre-Christmas get-together following their 2-0 win over Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday because they had no game the next day.
Melichar is understood to have been struck while he was walking back to the transport provided to take the party home. The assailant then ran off leaving him to be attended to by team-mates.
Melichar was taken immediately to hospital, where he is now recovering after an operation to insert two plates in his jaw.
Bees assistant player-boss Ryan Aldridge said: “Jan was a totally innocent party. He just happened to be at the back of our group, walking away when he was hit from behind.”
Police are now understood to be studying CCTV cameras with a view to identifying the assailant.
Melichar’s absence from the roster will be a massive blow to Bees as they look to hold onto second place in the English Premier League.
Despite being in his first
season with the club, he quickly established himself as Bees’ in-form player, combining solid defence with an ability to start off many attacks.
He is also a mainstay of Bees’ powerplay unit.
The club is already making enquiries about finding cover for him.
Ironically Bees were only recently forced to let Canadian defenceman Stuart Simmons join local rivals Slough Jets because they had one more than the four imports permitted under EPL rules following the signing of netminder Steve Briere.
If possible, player-boss Mike Ellis will undoubtedly prefer to bring in a defenceman as a stand-in for Melichar.
He has the option, though, of switching himself to defence if the best available player is a forward.
Or Ellis may even consider calling upon his younger
brother Mark, who first played in this country 10 years ago, icing for two seasons as a forward with Bees then another two at Peterborough in the late 90s.
Much will depend on the severity of Melichar’s injury and how much of the season he is likely to miss.
Ellis will be desperate to preserve Bees’ fine home form, which was again in evidence as they recorded their 11th consecutive win at the Hive on Saturday.
Bees’ boss said: “We played really well. We just did not bury our chances. A 5-1 scoreline might have been a truer reflection of the game.”
Ellis praised the display of Canadian goalie Briere, who recorded his second shut-out in nine games, saying: “He made some great saves.
“He is starting to understand the league a bit more.
“In the British National League last season, players’ shots might come at you with a bit more pace and accuracy.
“But in the EPL, even though the shots are not always as fast, they can be deceptive.
“More often a player will not got the shot quite right and there will be a curve so goalies have to stay totally focused on the puck, be very mobile and able to adapt to all situations.”