Before the Lyszczarczyk hype train took off, there was another player Polish fans were obsessed over Radoslaw Sawicki. There were rumors that Sawicki was making the jump to North America and we all speculated endlessly about where he would end up. That was only fueled further when Today’s Slapshot, a North American hockey site, wrote an article about NHL teams possibly taking a chance on Sawicki.(Their Article.) That all ended on August 14th, when it was announced that Sawicki would be playing with the Hampton Roads Whalers of the USPHL Elite. This was a let down as the USPHL Elite is an American junior league where most players go on to make a lower college commit to the ACHA or NCAA III. There are a handful of NCAA players but few make an impact.
Sawicki had a fantastic year in Hampton though. He scored 22 goals and 41 assists in 44 games. His 63 points tied him, with teammate Dominic Moore, for 4th in the league. He also played extremely disciplined hockey with only taking three penalties all year. Sawicki’s great season was rewarded by winning a USPHL Elite Championship and being named to the Polish National Team. Sawicki is part of the initial 45 man roster which will be trimmed down to 22 players and only 12 or 13 of those players will be forwards. Sawicki is not a lock to make the team, but if he does it could mean a lot for his career.
If Sawicki makes the team and has a good tournament if could give him some great chances. British player Robert Dowd and Slovenian Jan Urbas were able to get Allsvenskan deals, from their great showing at the tournament. Success at the tournament gave Ukrainian forward Roman Blagoy KHL and VHL chances. One of Poland’s best forwards, Aron Chmielewski used a great PHL season and solid tournament to get a Czech league deal. The event will be heavily scouted by European teams and North American teams. If Sawicki turns some heads at the Worlds he could end up playing in a very good league next season.