Since I started the women’s rankings, one player has always held the top spot. That player is now in their final year on the ranking, and they secured their number one spot for the last time.
Players had to be under the age of 20 and at least 13 years old on September 12th, 2022. We are only judging play that occurred before that date as well. Players are evaluated based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential. Skaters must have played at least five games to be considered. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. 113 players were considered for the list and reviewed. Fifty players received a ranking.
|Players 50-31||Players 15-11||Players 5-4|
|Players 30-21||Players 10-8||Player 3|
|Players 20-16||Players 7-6||Player 2|
1 – Wiktoria Sikorska (F), 20, Göteborg HC, (1,0)
Wiktoria Sikorska was always number one in our rankings and will finish her U20 career as number one. As soon as Sikorska entered the radar at just 14 years old in 2017, it was clear Poland had something special. Even watching her then, it would have been hard to predict that at just 17 years old, she would make it to potentially the top women’s league in Europe, the SDHL. 2022 was her second season in the league, and she is still just showing this is the beginning of her professional career.
There is an argument to be made that Sikorska is currently the best player in all of Poland. The debate of when she would take the crown from Karolina Późniewska might have been answered in the 2021-22 season. She is a dominant force with a great shot and fantastic puck skills. She plays smart hockey at both ends of the ice with a lot of speed, leading to both a great forecheck and backcheck. Watching her with the national team is a fun experience, as she has become the most exciting player.
In 2022, the Polish star returned to Göteborg HC for a second season. The club is on the lower end of the SDHL but has continued to avoid relegation. Sikroska set a new career high in scoring with five goals in thirty-five games. A pretty similar season to what she had in 2021, with six points (2G-4A-6PTS) in 34 games. I think the lack of production growth can be blamed partly on the team being worse, as they failed to record a single win in the season and only gained one point in an overtime loss. The team only scored 40 goals, meaning Sikorska scored 12.5% of the team’s total goals. Her five goals were also tied for twelfth among U19 players. I was slightly concerned by her shot rate fall, as she recorded 18 fewer shots in 2021 with 46.
By playing in the SDHL, Sikorska has reached a professional level that no other Polish player has been able to achieve. It was a bit more debatable if she was the best player in Poland after her first season. This has changed with an essential mark at the beginning of the 2022 season. Poland’s women’s team has been playing in international events since 2011. Every World Championship and Olympic qualifier team since 2012 was led in points by Karolina Późniewska. In the first round of the Olympic qualification, Karolina Późniewska finished with five points, it was third on team Poland, while Sikorska finished first with nine. Sikorska leads on the club end and can now lead the national team. For me, that puts her as the best player in Poland.
Sikorska had a strong international year as a vital part of the national team’s offense. She finished the Olympic qualification with 10 points (6G-4A-10PTS) in six games. Her ten points led team Poland and tied for second in the tournament. She ended her 2021-22 season by representing Poland at the World Championship. There she scored twice and assisted on another in five games. Karolina Pozniewska did take back her top-scorer title at that tournament. They might battle for that leading scorer spot until one hangs up the skates.
Sikorksa will move on to a much stronger SDHL team for the 2023 season in SDE HF. The club has not missed the playoffs or finished with less than ten wins since 2019. It is another move up for the young Pole, and with stronger teammates and coaching, she should be able to continue to grow. While we are only looking at the 2021-22 season, Sikorska is aging off the list, and with how late this piece is being published. We can see that Sikorska has taken that next step in the SDHL. The Chorzow native recorded 12 points (8G-4A-12PTS) in 32 games. That is double her first two years in terms of production. It is also tied for fourth among all U20 players in the SDHL. The future of Poland is undoubtedly bright.
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