Julia Zielińska To Be The First Polish Woman to Play NCAA D1 Hockey

While Poland has seen a few big moves today as the PHL transfer window closes, the most significant move out of Poland today was a history-making college commitment. Julia Zielińska has made her NCAA commitment to Bemidji State University for Fall 2024. She will be the first Polish woman to play NCAA division 1 hockey when she suits up for the Beavers during the 2024-2025 season. The defenseman has already made history for Poland, being the first to appear in Finland’s top league, the Naisten Liiga, and now she will make more history in North America. This is another massive step for Polish hockey!

The 18-year-old defenseman has been moving up the ranks and lineup in Finland for Kiekko-Espoo since 2020. She previously started her career in the Naprzod Janow system before moving to Slovakia with Popradske Lisky. This current season has been her most successful in Finland. In a career-high 26 Naisten Liiga games, she has 15 points (3G-12A-15PTS). This ranks 19th among all defensemen and the fifth most for U20 defensemen. She has also quickly become a staple of the Polish national team. In 2022, she represented Poland at the Olympic Qualifiers and Senior World Championships.

The Bemidji State Beavers have played in the NCAA’s division 1 since the 1999 season. They play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and sit last in the conference for the 2023 season. A strong two-way defenseman like Zielińska should be a huge help. They have been coached by Jim Scanlan since 2015, who previously assistant coached the Men’s teams at the University of North Dakota and Western Michigan University. Polish top prospect Jakub Lewandowski plays for Bemidji State’s men’s team. This obviously means that Bemidji State is Poland’s favorite college hockey team.

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