Category: Polish Heritage In Hockey

Polish Roots: Adam Kiedewicz

In the 2022 draft, Polish hockey got a rare, but fleeting, spotlight when the Arizona Coyotes selected German defensemen Maksymilian Szuber. Szuber was born in Opole, Poland, but represents Germany on the international stage. Still, he was credited in most places as Polish due to his birthplace. The draft pick got many people talking about how Poland possibly lost a player to another country. That is why we wanted to start this series called Polish Roots, where we dive deep into the careers of players with Polish roots, and find out why they didn’t represent Poland. Today, we take a look at Adam Kiedewicz. 

Adam Kiediwicz was born on May 21st, 2000, in Toruń, Poland. His father, Sławomir Kiedewicz, was well known to Polish hockey fans. The elder Kiedewicz had played in Poland’s top level of hockey with TKH Toruń for 12 years. He also appeared outside Poland in Germany’s fourth division for seven years, mainly with EHC Troisdorf. Sławomir’s brother, Łukasz Kiedewicz, was also a long-time player for TKH Toruń, appearing for the club in eight seasons. Łukasz Kiedewicz has been a coach at the youth and senior levels for Toruń-based clubs since retiring. Both brothers represented Poland at the IIHF junior and senior-level non-IIHF events. 

The Kiedewicz family was well established in Toruń hockey, and it wasn’t considered a surprise when Sławomir’s son Adam took up the sport. Sławomir Kiedwicz played in Germany from 2007 until the 2012 season when he retired. But Adam Kiedwicz remained in Poland during that time. 

“So I grew up in Toruń, and I played there until 12, and then I moved to Germany.”

Adam Kiedewicz on where his hockey journey began.

Starting in 2013, Kiedewicz played in the German junior ranks after playing his youth hockey in Poland. He quickly moved up the age groups and eventually reached the top levels. In 2015, he appeared for Kölner EC U16 in Germany’s top U16 league. He was teammates with fellow Pole Dominik Olszewski and current New Jersey Devils’ prospect Dominik Bokk. It was also an organization his father had played in; Sławomir Kiedewicz appeared for Kölner EC II in 2001. 

“Was a honour to wear the Haie Jersey for sure, it wasn’t easy to get there obviously I had to show character and work harder than anybody to prove, because of the foreigner status haha

Was really nice to meet and play with players like Dominik, especially when you are young and grow up together”

Adam Kiedewicz on getting to play with Kölner EC and players like Dominik Bokk

After another year at the U16 level in 2016, he would get his shot at the top U20 level the following year. At only 16 years old, Kiedewicz had made it to the top German junior level, the DNL, and it was also for Kölner EC U19 that had just made the previous season’s semi-finals. In his first year in the DNL, he would post four goals and four assists in 41 games. The solid first year attracted the Polish national team’s attention, which appointed the 16-year-old to the Polish U18 squad. 

“Special time for me and of course huge honour to represent the own country, because I was 16 at this time But nothing crazy.”

Adam Kiedewicz on memories of representing Poland U18

In April of 2017, he was off to Slovenia to represent Poland at an IIHF event for the first time. While Poland was relegated from the tournament, it was their first year back in Division 1 after being promoted the previous year. Still, things looked bright for Poland, as they had a special group of players in the tournament. Among the 2000-born players on the team were some notable prospects in Adam Kiedewicz, Damian Tyczyński, Kamil Wałęga, and Jan Soltys. While three of those players have become critical parts of the national team’s future, this would be the last time we saw one in the red and white. 

2017 was the last time Adam Kiedewicz represented Poland internationally. There were quite a few eyebrows raised in 2018 when he was not brought to camp for the Polish U20 team. The PZHL said after the event he was no longer representing Poland. A few people reported that the Toruń native would be trying his hand at making team Germany on the international stage. The reason seemed a bit far-fetched at the time, due to eligibility rules requiring him to play for four more years in Germany before he could appear for the German national team. The belief was now that Poland had lost a strong player to Germany, as was the fear with quite a few other young players. But why did Kiedewicz stop representing Poland? 

“In Germany the rules for foreigners are very strict, so I decided to not play for the Polish national team and get German passport.”

Adam Kiedewicz on why he hasn’t represented Poland since 2017

Following the 2017 season, the passport would not be his only change. He switched over to the Krefelder EV 1981 junior system. A team that is very familiar to Polish fans, as plenty of Poles have appeared for the club, including GKS Katowice forward Jakub Prokurat. Other Polish Root players like Darren Mieszkowski and Maciej Rutkowski also appeared for the team. So why the change in junior clubs? 

“I’ve changed the team because of the school and in my opinion it was the best move for me and my hockey future, Krefeld gave me the opportunity to end up the highest graduate of Germanys school system and by the way pro contract for the Del team so I decided to move on.”

Adam Kiedewicz on moving to Krefelder EV 1981

The passport and transfer seemed to pay off quickly. After Kiediwicz’s first season with Krefelder, where he was one of the leading scorers, he would sign a 3-year deal with the Krefeld Pinguine of Germany’s top league, the DEL. The Krefeld Pinguine were affiliated with Krefelder EV 1981.  He would continue to play junior hockey with Krefelder EV 1981 during the 2018 season. That season he would post over 110 points in what would be the final junior season of his career. 

The Toruń native was now set to play senior hockey after his career-high junior season. He moved up to the Obelriga, Germany’s third level of hockey, now with Krefelder EV 1981 U23. There he was teammates with long-time DEL forward Adrian Grygiel, born in Katowice, Poland. Kiediwicz would spend the next two seasons with the U23 club, posting 62 points in 81 games. 

Following the end of the 2021 season, his contract with the Krefeld organization would expire, and he would not re-sign. For the 2022 season, he moved on to Dresdner Eislöwen, who compete in the second level of German hockey, the DEL 2. He would record 17 points in his first year in the new league. 

“It was a big difference to play in DEL 2 than in Oberliga, the experience that I collected in U23 team helped me a lot to get on the senior level ( physical and quicker ) but there was a lot of strategy plays which I had to learn and I had to be patient on it.”

Adam Kiedewicz on moving from a U23 team in a senior league to a DEL 2 team

The young forward impressed enough to earn another opportunity in the league and has re-signed for the 2023 season. Kiediwicz making the DEL 2 is pretty impressive for a kid from Toruń. He comes from a hockey family that was only really known in Toruń and is growing it on a much bigger stage in Germany. The journey to the top league continues, and I would be shocked if he never makes it to the DEL. Even though he no longer represents the Polish national team, I can guarantee that Polish fans will follow and cheer his journey.

If you want to keep up with all the Polish hockey action, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey, like our Facebook page, and add us on Instagram @PolishPuck_. Also, support us on Patreon to help keep the content flowing!

Polish Heritage in Hockey: Montreal Canadiens Writer Andrew Zadarnowski

Polish Heritage in Hockey is a series that aims to highlight and learn more about those working in hockey with Polish heritage, whether their role is as a player, coach, executive, media member, or even behind the scenes. 

This is the first edition of Polish Heritage in Hockey, and Andrew Zardarnowski was chosen for the first piece for specific reasons. Zardarnowski is a media member in Hamilton covering the Montreal Canadiens with a focus on their minor league system. Andrew works as a writer for Habs Eyes on the Prize, and you can hear him on TSN 690. As for why he was my choice for the first guest, Zardarnwoski was one of the first media members to really reach out and interact with the Polish Puck blog. He is also an avid follower of the Polish National team.


Andrew’s family has a story that is similar to that of many Polish immigrants to the states, “Both my mom and dad were born in Poland, displaced by the war. Both my grandfathers were Polish military officers, so obviously they weren’t seen favorably after the war after communism kinda took hold in Poland. On my father’s side, my family was displaced to France, where my father did his elementary schooling. On my mom’s side, my grandfather, who had a proper education and was an officer, couldn’t get anything more than a menial job. After that, my mother immigrated to Canada as well. Both my parents are Polish immigrants in Canada, and I’m a first-generation Polish.”

His family settled in Quebec, Canada, and despite the location, he grew up in a very Polish household. “Growing up, Polish was a huge influence in the house. Obviously, we only spoke Polish in the house. I wasn’t allowed to speak any other language in the house, there were severe punishments for speaking English and French. On Sundays it would be Polish church, on Saturday it would be Polish school, on weeknights would be Polish scouts.”

Like most people growing up in a North American home, where heritage was viewed as a crucial part of life, Andrew questioned his father on what was the point of it all. His parents were proven right though. “Every job I have had, there have been Polish colleagues, Polish contractors, or Polish clients. Where having that additional language became an advantage in that situation professionally.”

“I’m proud to say I am Polish, I’m proud to say I am Canadian, I’m proud to say I’m French Canadian from Montreal. I don’t believe that a person has to be just one thing or represent a single identity. USA and Canada is a nation of immigrants and multiple heritages that are somehow learning to coexist. I’m proud of the heritage I have.”

His Local Polish Community

The biggest thing that I learned from our talk was about the large and proud Polish community in Hamilton. “I saw them (The Men’s National team) in Hamilton when they played against the Stoney Creek Generals. The crowd was 100% Polish, and it was amazing. We were loud! We all had a Polish jersey on, I saw a priest with a Polish jersey on it was wicked. We were chanting POLSKA POLSKA. You could see the smile on the player’s faces, they were in a foreign country but felt welcome.”

 “That is the cool thing about Polonia. Although a majority of us are born outside of Poland, we take pride in the fact were Polish. Poland has a rough history it was wiped off the map for 100 years. There is a lot to be proud of. It (Poland) is a history of fighters, a history of people that won’t be told what to do. They’re proud of where they come from, and who they are, who their father was, who their grandfather was, and what they did. We like to show it. There was a men’s volleyball team that came to Hamilton from Poland. The crowd was rabid for Poland. I saw friends in the crowd we speak English to each other, but once someone is wearing a Polish jersey on the playing field you become Polish, you start shouting stuff in Polish and telling people stuff in Polish. It is an opportunity to turn off your Canadian self and turn on your Polish self.”

Getting into Hockey

There was an easy link for him to be into hockey growing up in a time when Quebec had both the Montreal Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques, despite the two teams Andrew made it quite clear where his alliances lay, “I hated the Nordiques growing up oh my goodness. They’re the team I loved to hate. The habs playing the Nordiques on a Saturday was peak youth for me, I have such vivid memories of watching the teams play hating the Statnsys and Michel Goulet.”

Joining the rounds of hockey media though, was not something that Zadarnowski was drawn to right away in his life. He wasn’t a journalism major in college and works in the biomedical field. He needed an outlet for creative writing. When Montreal Canadiens’ SB Nation blog Habs Eyes on the Prize sent out a tweet saying they needed writers, he was instantly drawn to it. He sent in quite the application.

His first piece for the blog would come in September 2015, where he created a Sporcle Quiz for Montreal Canadiens captains.


“I have developed a pretty solid following of late and have been growing my twitter base. I have been interacting with some amazing people actually online, people who read Habs Eyes on the Prize. It is a top site for Montreal Canadiens news and has got a very good reputation. Mainstream media actually read us, through that they got to know to me. I talk with the French and English Montreal Media. I got on to the radio on TSN 690, where I have a weekly slot on Sunday morning, where I talk about what is going on with the Habs. It has kinda just been building from there.”

While he hasn’t ruled out ever pursuing writing full time. He has used it to help his professional career. “The work I am doing with talking on the radio, writing articles, interacting with players and coaches for interviews there are soft skills and hard skills that I am able to pour into my professional life. Say I’m doing an interview on a radio, where the host is asking me questions. You don’t have these questions prepared ahead of time. You gotta learn to think on the fly, gotta learn how to answer persuasively, and gotta learn how to annunciate and speak clearly. Those are all great life skills that I apply to talking with clients in the biomedical field.”

The Minors

Andrew has earned his following is in part due to his excellent coverage of Montreal’s minor league system. “I’m a big fan of depth, knowing there is a contingency plan if player X is injured in the NHL, player Y will get called up from the AHL, and player Z will be called up from the ECHL to AHL. I like kinda seeing that deep thought in player movement.” 

This year the ECHL will feature Polish player, Alan Lyszczarczyk, playing for the Fort Wayne Komets. “I made contact with the reporter who covers the Komets last year because Montreal had a guy there. I emailed him saying hey you’re going to need to learn how to pronounce and write this guy’s name to which he replied that he might not come back from vacation.”

Zadarnowski also gave his opinion to the league in regards to a fit for Lyszczarczyk. He believes the ECHL is more similar to a European style, and a finesse player will thrive there. It also is a crucial first step in development. “The ECHL is a stepping stone between amateur hockey and AHL  pro hockey. If the step from amateur to AHL is too high, people are using the ECHL now to ease people in. That is the Toronto model now, anyone who signs a Marlie contract plays at least a game in Newfoundland.”

One piece of Andrew’s work that I would recommend everyone check out is his series on the history of Montreal Canadiens AHL coaches starting here. If you would like to check out more of Andrew Zadarnowski’s work, make sure to follow him on Twitter @AZadarski and on Habs Eyes on the Prize.

If you want to keep up with all the news, make sure to follow us on Twitter  @PolandHockey and like our Facebook page.