Ondrej seeks third season for Stingrays
MARTIN Ondrej says he would jump at the chance of returning to Hull Stingrays next season.
Contract talks are expected to conclude with the 29-year-old Slovakian in the next few days.
And it looks as though the defenceman will follow Jereme Tendler, Ben Bowns, Jason Silverthorn and Matty Davies in putting pen to paper – if the money is right.
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Ondrej said: "I know the team owner Bobby McEwan and coach Sylvain Cloutier and they are both awesome guys.
"I also know the fans and Hull feels like my second home. I would like to come back here for sure."
Ondrej impressed last season, helping Stingrays reach the Elite League play-off semi-finals before bowing out to eventual winners Nottingham Panthers.
His performances earned him a new deal, but he decided to stay in his home country due to personal reasons.
He changed his mind, but it was too late as Cloutier had already completed his roster.
However, when fellow countryman Tomas Valecko failed to make the grade, the door opened for Ondrej's return in October.
Although rarely, if ever, making the headlines, Ondrej has proved rock-solid, with his playing style more akin to North America than Europe.
"I think I've played better than last year," said Ondrej.
"But every player is better when the team is better because if you don't have a good team it's hard to do things by yourself."
He believes the class of 2012-13 is superior to that of 2011-12, despite looking as though they will miss out on the play-off places this season.
"Yes, definitely, I think this team is better than last year, it's more skilled," said Ondrej.
"But the league is better than last year, it's more tight.
"We've lost nine matches in overtime or on penalty shots, so I think that's why we are struggling. They were all one-goal games."
To extend this season beyond this weekend, the Rapid Solicitors Stingrays must win their final two league matches against Sheffield and Coventry, and hope the results of their closest rivals fall in their favour.
It is a remote prospect, but Ondrej has not given up hope.
He said: "We have to win both if we want to still be alive for the play-offs.
"Our destiny is not in our hands, we have to pray to God as well, but everything is possible, especially in hockey as from 3-0 down two quick goals can pull it back to 3-2."