SLOUGH Jets head coach Lukas Smital has been suspended from coaching and playing for two months by Ice Hockey UK and the English Ice Hockey Association, writes Rob Stevens.

The suspension comes after breaches of regulations regarding requesting permission to travel abroad with the Slough Under-18s.

Smital admits the break was a genuine mistake but he will now be unavailable to the Jets until after Sunday 3rd March.

He told the Observer: “We took the boys abroad for a couple of days as a part of their development and didn’t ask for permission to travel.

“We played some strong teams and dominated them, which was very good to see in regards to what direction the team is heading in.

“I suppose the authorities were worried that we didn’t have insurance but we all did and it was just a genuine mistake.

“I am a coach and not an administrator but if I’m suspended then so be it. It’s not going to stop me from what I’m doing.”

Smital must remain 30 metres from the bench on matchdays and cannot be involved as the Jets welcome Basingstoke Buffalo to the Slough Ice Arena this Saturday (5.45pm).

He has not featured on the ice in their four previous matches and has praised his young stars, who are on a 17-match winning streak, for developing into leaders.

He said: “It doesn’t seem like my absence has had an impact and I’m not sure if I will have a spot in the team to come back to.

"A few of the guys have stepped up massively in my absence despite being out of their comfort zone with a few leaders missing.

"They're all young guys and starting to become leaders, and that's a part of their development.

"I teach and encourage people not to skip levels because that's how you get stronger and become a leader. You can then start to push on and go up a level."