While many players wait until after the World Championships to sign abroad, Dawid Zabolotny has not wasted any time returning to Germany. The national team and Cracovia goalie has signed a one-year deal with EHC Freiburg of the DEL2. Zabolotny is expected to be one of three goalies for Poland at the upcoming Division 1 Group A World Championships in Nottingham, England. While representing Poland internationally, he was born in Germany and holds both a Polish and German passport, thus not counting as an import in German leagues.
Zabolotny has spent the last two seasons in Cracovia as a split starter or backup goalie. He played in 31 games across the PHL regular season and playoffs, recording a .924 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average. From 2018 to 2021, the Frankfurt native played in Germany’s third level, the Oberliga. In parts of four Oberliga seasons, he was the starting goalie for three different clubs. Before moving to Germany, he was with JKH GKS Jastrzebie in Poland for five years, and he developed in the SMS Sosnowiec system.
In the team’s announcement, Zabolonoty said, “After two years in Poland, I’m looking forward to returning to Germany and playing for EHC Freiburg. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the club, the fans, and the great city, and I’m convinced that we’ll have a successful season with the team. I’m motivated and can’t wait to meet you all at Real Heroes Arena.”
EHC Freiburg competes in the second level of German hockey, the DEL2; they have been in the league since 2016. In 2015 the club was the champion of the Oberliga. This past year the team finished eighth in the DEL2 with a 21-24-3-4 record. For the 2024 season, Czech goalie Patrik Červený is the only other netminder on the roster. He was the club’s starter last year finishing with a .893 save percentage in 38 games. Zabolotny will become the fifth Polish player to suit up for the club. In the 1980s and 1990s, the club at points was home to Damian Adamus, Jacek Płachta, Krzystof Kruczek, and Peter Schuster. Dawid Zabolotny will be the first Polish goalie in the DEL2 and the seventh overall Polish skater.
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