Two Polish Players in College Hockey. Two Different Tales.

Both Wojciech Stachowiak and Kamil Sadlocha will be competing in the NCAA, the top college hockey league in the world, this season. The two will also be going head to head quite a few times as their respective schools, Ohio State (Sadlocha) and Michigan State (Stachowiak) are in the same conference. They also battled it out multiple times in the United States Hockey League (USHL) last year. They’re also both Freshman this year for their respective Universities. They actually have a lot of similarities, another being both players will not represent Poland nationally, despite being born in Poland. There is one big difference between them though and that is their relationship with Poland.

Kamil Sadlocha was born in Poland but moved across the pond to the United States at a young age. He excelled at hockey and was one of the best players in the Chicago Mission system. This lead to him getting chances with US National development team. In 2016, he would join the Madison Capitals of the USHL, putting up 22 points in his rookie season. He would return to the Capitals in 2017 and put up new career highs in goals (16), assists (21), and points (37). During this time, he also committed to play hockey at the Ohio State University. Ohio State hockey had been on the decline for years, but their stock has been rising the past few seasons, making the Frozen Four last year. Kamil Sadlocha could have played for Poland, but the opportunity with Team USA was one he could not turn down. When I interviewed Sadlocha during last season, he had this to say on his Polish heritage, ” Most of my family still lives in Poland so I am very proud of my heritage. My dad played professional hockey in Poland and my uncle still plays. So we cheer for him. We also enjoy watching Lewandowski. My dad follows him a good amount.”

Wojciech Stachowiak is not as straightforward and his situation with Poland is one to this day I don’t really understand fully. Stachowiak was born in Gdansk, Poland. He moved to the German development system in 2011, playing in the German u16 league with ES Weißwasser, with him later moving to the Krefelder EV 1981 junior system. During this time, he represented Poland at some non-IIHF junior events. In 2015, he represented Poland at the Riga Cup.

A year later, he would start to represent Germany at some more non-IIHF international events. In 2017, Stachowiak gave an interview to, during the interview, Stachowiak claimed he had never received an offer from the PZHL, the controlling body of the national team, to play for team Poland. This was disputed by some members of the PZHL at the time.  During the 2017 NHL draft, rumors started circulating that the Vancouver Canucks were interested in him. Stachowiak would go undrafted and has yet to be invited to a Canucks development camp. A source told me, these rumors came from Stachowiak’s father. Stachowiak’s father had also gone on various Facebook rants about his son’s situation with the PZHL around the time the interview was published. After going undrafted, Stachowiak would return to Germany only to leave halfway through the 2017-18 season to play for the Central Illinois Flying Aces in the USHL. He would have strong year posting 19 points in 38 games while committing to play hockey at Michigan State. At the end of the season, Poland’s former head junior coach, David Leger, tried to contact Stachowiak with no luck. His IIHF status remains unclear, but he is likely German property. There appears to be no relationship between him and the PZHL.

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