It has been a busy time in Polish hockey, with the women’s side of the sport facing a lot of upheaval. First, the U18 squad saw their first chance to play in two years taken away as the IIHF canceled all tournaments set for January. Then just a few days ago, it was announced that long-time Polish national team coach, Ivan Bednar, would be leaving. Bednar had been part of the quick development of women’s hockey in Poland. It was quite a shock to see him leave mid-season at the time, especially just days after the U18 squad saw their tournament canceled. In the end, his contract had expired at the end of December, according to Marta Zawadzka in the PZHL’s release.
With the Slovakian head coach’s contract up, the national team decided to go in a different direction naming Zbigniew Wróbel the new head coach. The 53-year-old former PHL forward retired from hockey in 2006. Since then he has coached around Jastrzebie hockey. Winning quite a few medals in the PLHK with Białe Jastrzębie. Then later became the top junior coach for JKS GKS Jastrzębie. Given the great amount of talent that developed during his time in the organization, there is no question that he appears to be a great coach for helping create stars.
The Women’s national team will be featuring quite a few young players that are taking very quick stepsin their careers. Ida Talanda, Julia Lapinska, Julia Zielinska, Magdalena Lapies, and Wiktoria Sikorska all represented Poland at the final round of Olympic qualification while being 18 or younger. The next time we will see the women’s senior team at the IIHF level is during the Division 1B World Championships from April 8th to the 14th, which will be hosted in Poland! No doubt that Zbigniew Wróbel will be looking to earn a medal during his first shot as a national team head coach.