Unia Oswiecim has finally named their head coach, and it is a familiar face. The team has brought back Slovenian coach Nik Zupančič. The 53-year-old signed a two-year deal with an option for a third season.
Zupančič had a lengthy playing career that started in 1985 and lasted until 2010, including 18 years in his home country’s top league. The long-time player represented Yugoslavia at three World Championships and ten world championships for Slovenia. After his playing career ended, he would jump right into coaching. He served as the assistant coach for Slovenia from 2011 to 2015. He would take over as head coach for the national team in 2016 and lead the team until 2018. After coaching VEU Feldkirch in the Alps Hockey League for one season in 2019, he would move to Poland.
Zupančič served as the head coach for Unia Oswiecim for a year and a half. He brought in plenty of Slovenian imports in his first year and laid out his new system. It quickly transformed the club into a very skilled program. In his first season, the team finished second in the PHL and would be awarded a silver medal after the playoffs were canceled. The club had finished eighth place the previous PHL season. The considerable jump gave fans of the blue and white a lot of hope. While the team was still in the top five of the PHL next season, they did not start as strong. Midway through the 2021 season, Zupančič would step down as head coach due to family reasons, but it would also come shortly after he served a suspension after a disagreement with a ref.
I personally am excited to see the Zupančič brand of hockey back in Poland.
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