GKS Katowice has started to add to their roster after re-signing most of their core. After adding Swedish forward Christian Blomqvist earlier this week, the team has signed Japanese forward Shigeki Hitosato. Hitosato will be the third Japanese player to appear in Poland, Denis Akimoto played in Poland from 2019 to 2020, and Jo Araya appeared in the league during the 2015 season.
The 27-year-old forward has played his entire career in Japan. He was a standout player at Shirakaba Gakuen High and made the Japan U18 squad. He played four years of college hockey for Toyo University and was the captain of the Japan U20 team and their Universiade squad during that time. He turned pro for the 2018 season and played with the Tohoku Free Blades in the Asia league and at the Japan Cup. He posted 44 points (16G-28A-44PTS) in 30 games last year in the AL Japan Cup. This career-high performance earned his first spot on the Japan senior team at the 2022 Division 1 Group B World Championships in Poland. He would finish third in the tournament in scoring with three goals and four assists for seven points in four games. That performance obviously caught the eyes of a few in the host country.
After winning their first Championship in 50-plus years last season, Katowice has seen plenty of their talent depart in free agency. While the team was able to retain a lot of their key pieces on defense, they lost a lot on offense. The team hopes that Hitosato will be able to repeat his success at the World Championships.
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