Category: Womens Hockey

Taking A Closer Look At Poland’s 2020-21 EWHL Roster

Last year Poland made their debut in the European Women’s Hockey League as the Silesia Brackens. This was a great chance to grow women’s hockey in Poland and improve both established and young national team members. The way the team functions also allows for plenty of players to get chances. Last year 26 players suited up in at least one of the team’s 18 games. The Brackens finished sixth in the league. Just a couple wins out of the playoffs. Now in 2020, after a COVID delay, Poland’s top women team kicks off play with two games this weekend. The team comes into the year with a new name as Metropolis Katowice, and a new coach in Tomasz Marznica. Former head coach, Ivan Bednar is staying on as an assistant and advisor to the national team. Marznica has named his initial roster for the year, so with that let us take a look.

2020-21 Metropolis Katowice Roster

This team can be considered a potential national team roster. While we didn’t get to see last year how many players from the EWHL squad would play for the national team. The team does mostly include the national team and u18 squad regulars. Plus, this is an excellent chance for Tomasz Marznica to scout new talent with the same national team coaching staff.

Forwards

Alicja Kopciara (17). Kopciara had a down year on both the international and PLHK level. She remains a strong contender to be a key producer in Poland’s future. Her goal-scoring prowess would be a massive help to team Poland and Metropolis Katowice. She ranked 24th on our top 30 U20 list.

Alicja Mota (16). Despite being only 15 at the time, Mota made her second U18 appearance this year. She has a lot of potential to be a great forward for Poland. She needs to keep growing but would have been a massive contributor to the U18 squad this year. It will be interesting to see how she performs in a stronger competition like the EWHL. She was ranked 23rd on our top 30 U20 list.

Alicja Siejka (20). The Gdansk forward had one of the best years in the PLHK last year, recording 26 points. She also made her EWHL debut playing two games. Siejka’s ceiling is likely a middle-six forward for Poland but is already a pretty well-established part of the national team forward group at just 20-years-old.

Ewelina Czarnecka (30). One of Poland’s most reliable veterans on the offensive end. Czarnecka is likey to split her time between the EWHL and the top league in Slovakia. Last year she posted two goals and nine assists in thirteen EWHL games.

Ida Talanda (17). Talanda was going to be one of the most crucial players to the Polish U18 squad. Last year, she only played in one EWHL game. I expect that total to increase by a lot this year. She had a great rookie year in the PLHK and missed being a point per game player by one point. The Krynica native was ranked thirteenth on our top 30 U20 list.

Iga Schramm (18). Schramm had one of the most impressive outings at the U18s. Add in a solid season for Poznań, and she was rewarded with a deal in the top Swiss league, the SWHL A. Her deal in Switzerland will probably mean her EWHL games are pretty limited, but either club will be fantastic for her development.

Joanna Orawska (22). Orawska continues to prove herself on larger stages. Last year she played in the top women’s league in Slovakia and with Poland in the EWHL. In the two leagues combined, she posted 22 points (13G, 9A, 22 PTS) in 29 games. Her 11 EWHL points were second on the Brackens. Orawska is a considerable part of Poland’s offense for the future.

Joanna Strzelecka (23). Strzelecka was a reliable center last year for both UKHK Unia Oświęcim and the Silesia Brackens. In 14 EWHL games the previous year, she posted five assists—a quality center for Poland’s third line.

Kamila Wieczorek (23). Wieczorek is one of the best Polish players of all time at just 23. With that, she won’t be appearing much in the EWHL. She plays in the top Swiss Leauge, the SWHL A.. Especially with COVID-19 appearing in two large groups and travel like that will be pretty uncommon.

Karolina Baran (18). Baran is coming off a great season with Cracovia in the PLHK B, where her 27 points doubled her 14 games. A strong international season as well for Poland at the U18s. This will be her EWHL debut. She was ranked ninth in our top 30 U20 rankings.

Karolina Churas (21). Churas has continued to grow into a solid play with Tychy. This resulted in her playing 13 games with the Brackens, where she recorded two assists. Her ceiling is most likely on the bottom lines for Poland.

Karolina Późniewska (28). Późniewska is easily the best female Polish player of all time. She has 30 more points for Poland than any other player at the World Championships. Before last year, the Polonia Bytom legend had only played a handful of games outside of Poland. In her first EWHL season, she recorded 13 goals and 13 assists in 16 games. This was tied for eighth in the league overall.

Katarzyna Wybiral (20). Wybiral appeared in 14 matches last year for the Brackens registering two assists. Both in the EWHL and PLHK A, she hasn’t shown much offensive potential. She remains a reliable bottom-six option though

Klaudia Kaleja (20). Kaleja has somewhat fallen off after a breakout five-goal performance at the 2018 U18s. Last year, she did post one goal in three EWHL games. The power forward remains a force in the offensive zone but needs to gain consistency.

Maja Błaszków (16). Błaszków is already a very talented forward with a lot of potential. She would have been an essential part of the U18 squad this year, which has lost a lot of talent. This will be her EWHL debut. She was ranked tenth in our top 30 U20 rankings.

Malgorzata Synowiec (20). Synowiec was among the players to only play a handful of games for the Brackens, appearing in two matches. Her PLHK B year, leading the league in points per game with 26 points in 8 games. She ranked 14th in our top 30 U20 list.

Olivia Tomczok (21). Tomczok is one of Poland’s best and most underrated forwards. She was one of the couple of forwards to have EWHL experience previously before Poland joined the league. The young forward posted nine points (4G-5A-9PTS) in 16 games. This was tied for fourth on the team in points. Tomczok is easily one of the most valuable forwards to Metropolis Katowice and a first liner.

Sylwia Łaskawska (22). Poland has a weird thing with developing forwards where there is a considerable gap between the top forwards and the rest of the roster. No in-between. Łaskawska has a high ceiling, but right now, she is already in that in-between place that Poland needs. In 16 EWHL games last year, she posted two goals and four assists.

Tetiana Onyshchenko (20). Onyshchenko is the first non-Polish player to play for the Polish squad in the EWHL. The Ukrainian forward is on her way to acquiring Polish citizenship though. She has been a star for Gdańsk, recording 42 points (25G, 17A, 42PTS), which was third in the PLHK. She previously played with Karlskrona HK in Sweden’s division one league.

Wiktoria Dziwok (20). When looking at the forwards critical to Poland’s future, Dziwok doesn’t come up a lot. She may never be a top-line player, but she can more than handle her own. Dziwok will be great for Poland’s middle six in the future. She recorded two goals and two assists last year in sixteen EWHL matches.

Wiktoria Sikorska (17). Sikorska is one of the best forwards in Poland. This season, she will mostly be playing with Göteborg HC in Sweden’s top league, the Svenska damhockeyligan. With that, she probably won’t play much in the EWHL if at all. Last year with the Brackens, she recorded thee assists in five games. She ranked number one in our top 30 U20 list.

Zuzanna Baran (18). Baran had a great season in Slovakia, leading all U18 players in points in Slovakia’s top women’s league. While she will be returning to play in Slovakia, she would be a solid contributor in a few EWHL games this year. Zuzanna Baran was our fourth-ranked player in the top 30 U20 rankings.

Defense

Alicja Wcisło (20). A two-way defender with great passing ability. She fits perfectly into Poland’s top four. There is a lot of reason to be excited about Poland’s future on defense, and Wcislo is a big reason why. The three-time PLHK A champion, with Polonia Bytom, posted two goals and four assists in 14 EWHL games last year.

Aneta Cygan (23). Cygan, a strong two-way defenseman, only played 11 games last year between the Brackens and Polonia Bytom but made a strong impact as usual. One of the most underrated defenders in Poland.

Anna Kot (16). One of the younger defensemen on the Polish U18 squad, Kot showed improvement last season at the U18 as part of an overall strong defensive core. These EWHL games will be a significant test and experience for her. She was ranked 17th in our top 30 U20 rankings.

Dominika Korkuz (23). Korkuz continues to be a solid defenseman for Poland. Last year she was a mainstay on the Brackens defense, playing in 12 games and recording a goal and two assists.

Klaudia Chrapek (24). One of Poland’s best defensemen, Chrapek, finished third on the Brackens in points with 10, and thirteenth among all defensemen. A treasured part of team Poland, with a young roster, her two-way play is crucial to their success.

Julia Zaborowska (17). Zaborowska made her U18 debut last year, not making an enormous impact. Never making any big mistakes either though. With limited PLHK experience, this is a big chance for the Polonia Bytom defense’s young part.

Julia Zielińska (16). Zielińska is the future of defense for Poland. She already can make a claim for the best Polish defensemen of all time, as she has reached heights not reached by any other Polish defender. As she will appear in the Liiga and Metsis for Kiekko-Espoo, we will likely not see here in any EWHL matches this year.

Natalia Kaminska (20). Kaminska was one of the best POLISH U18 defensemen making the Polish U18 squad four times. She has already established herself on the senior team as well. As the Łódź native continues to gain more experience, she will work her way up the senior depth chart.

Patrycja Sfora (26). The veteran Sfora was able to play outside of Poland really for the first time last year. She posted five points (3G, 2A, 5 PTS) in 16 games. She was one of the most consistent defenders on the team, playing her role well.

Sandra Kosakowska (26). Kosakowska made her return to hockey since after not playing since 2017. The veteran defenseman was a national team regular before taking a hiatus. She only played three games with the Brackens, along with two games in the PLHK. Her return is excellent for the national team’s defensive depth.

Wiktoria Gogoc (20). Gogoc has shown many flashes of potential to be a top defensemen for Poland but hasn’t reached that level yet. Her offensive side has been slower to develop than her play in her own zone. Still, Gogoc currently really helps round out Poland’s defense.

Vanessa Patla (18). Patla made her EWHL debut last year playing a single game. She had an impressive performance at the U18s for team Poland. There she recorded one goal and eight shots. Add in another reliable performance for Vanessa Patla, and it appears in a couple years, Patla will be another excellent defenseman for Poland. She was ranked 11th on our top 30 U20 list.

Goalies

Agata Kosińska (31). The veteran goalie returns after split starting with the Sass last year. The national team goalie has been apart of the senior national squad since 2012. In 7 games with the Brackens last year, she posted a .873 SV%.

Helena Grzybowska (18). While Sass has the goaltending position on lock if ever needed, Grzybowska proved that she is more than ready to start if required. She had a breakout performance at the U18s and posted a .893 SV% in two EWHL games. She was ranked sixth overall in our top 30 U20 rankings.

Katarzyna Kurek (24). Kurek had an outstanding performance at the 2014 U18s but hasn’t seen much of a national team impact since then. She has continued to grow and is now the starter for the PLHK champion Polonia Bytom. It will be interesting to see what her future holds. These EWHL games could be a huge stepping stone.

Martyna Sass (19). Sass is an unbelievably talented goalie. The best that Poland has ever seen and may ever see for decades. She dominates the Slovak league. She has led the top Slovak league in goals-against average, save percentage, shutouts, and wins in back to back seasons. She only proved her skills more after posting a .934 SV% in 7 EWHL games. Sass can steal any game for Poland. She was ranked second in our top 30 U20 rankings.

Additions

Before the first games, the team announced additional appointments to the team. Many of the players added to this new group are players under the age of 15, including standouts Julia Skręt (14) and Magdalena Łąpieś (14), whom both have posted high PLHK production beyond their years. Also included are U18 squad members Justyna Żyła (14) and Katarzyna Zaborska (17). The other players added to the roster were Lena Zięba (14), Maja Brzezińska (15), Maja Twardy (14), Nikola Wencel (14), and Patrycja Wójcik (14). None of these players were listed on the rosters for the two games this weekend.

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_.

Iga Schramm Signs in Top Swiss League

One of Poland’s best young forwards Iga Schramm has signed in the
Swiss Women’s League (SWHLA), the top level of women’s hockey in Switzerland. Schramm is joining the Neuchâtel Hockey Academy Dames (NHA) per swisshockeynews.ch. NHA finished third last year in the SWHLA. The team made it to the finals, but they were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Schramm had a standout performance at the U18s this last season. She always seemed to around the puck and making a play when she had possession of it. She posted four points (2G-2A-4PTS) in five games, which was tied with Wiktoria Sikorska for the lead on team Poland. She also managed 21 shots in the tournament, her shot total was second on team Poland. She also had a solid showing at the Olympic Hopes tournament, scoring vs Hungary.

Iga Schramm will be only the second Polish player to play in the league. Kamila Wieczorek made her debut in the league last year for EV Bomo Thun.

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_.

Wiktoria Sikorska Signs with Göteborg HC in The SDHL

Wiktoria Sikorska has made a huge career moving by signing in Sweden with Göteborg HC. Göteborg HC plays in the Svenska damhockeyligan (SDHL). The SDHL is the best women’s league in Sweden. The 17-year-old is the first Polish player to appear in the league. Kamila Wieczorek did play in Sweden’s Division 1, which is just below the SDHL.

Sikorska mostly played in the top Czechia women’s league last season. In her third year with SK Karvina, she recorded 21 points (11-10-21) in 11 games. This ranked fifth in the league overall, and the second by any under 18 player in the league. Sikorska also played five games in EWHL for Poland’s Silesia Brackens, where she posted three assists.

Sikorska also represented the Polish U18 squad at various events, including the division 1B IIHF U18 World Championships. At the Olympic Hopes tournament, she was Poland’s best player. She scored three goals, including two highlight-reel ones. At the IIHF U18s, she recorded four points (3-1-4) in 5 games. This was down from her ten points the previous year. She did post 33 shots, an average of 6.6 shots per game. Sikorska will be able to represent Poland at the U18s one more time next year, and every opponent should be scared.

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

Poland Shifts Around Women’s Coaching Staff

In the past few weeks, we have seen the PZHL make multiple coaching changes. The Men’s senior, U20, U18, and U16 team will have new leaders behind the bench next year. With all the changes on the men’s team, it is not that surprising that some changes have been made to the women’s side as well. Ivan Bednar is out as the national team head coach but will be staying on as staff coordinator for both the senior and u18 squads. Tomasz Marznica has been named the senior team head coach, while Magdalena Jabłońska will be leading the U18 squad.

Tomas Mrazinica is a former PHL defenseman who played briefly with GKS Katowice in the mid-2000s. He has been working in coaching since 2007. Training the various youth teams for MUKS Naprzód Janów. In 2015 and 2017, he served as the head coach of Janow’s U20 team. Starting in the 2017-2018 season, he became the head coach of Naprzod Janow’s women team. He also became Ivan Bednar’s first assistant in the same season. The 38-year-old has served in that role until his recent promotion to head coach.

Magdalena Jabłońska is also a former defenseman playing in the PLHK from 2013 to 2019 with Naprzod Janow and Atomowki Tychy. The 30-year-old is the first female to assume a head coaching role with either of the women’s national teams. She is also the tenth female to hold a staff position with either of the teams. Jabłońska has served in a coaching role for both JKH GKS Jastrzębie and Naprzod Janow.

Marta Zawadzka, vice president of the PZHL, commented on the changes on the PZHL website. “We have made changes, but Ivan Bednar remains in the staff and will support Tomasz Marznica. They both worked together and know each other perfectly. We invest in our trainers and follow the footsteps of the best. In the national team of Finland and Switzerland, women’s teams were handed over to young trainers who have the support of more experienced trainers. Our team was taken over by Magdalena Jabłońska – explains Marta Zawadzka, vice president of PZHL.”

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

2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players Breakdown

Our top 30 list is finished! Now it is time to breakdown the stats of the board, who were the biggest risers, who were the biggest fallers, and what teams had the most.

Players #30-20     Players #6-4

Players #19-15     Player #3

Players #14-10     Player #2

Players #9-7         Player #1

The Big Board

2020 women board

Biggest Risers

  1. Alicja Wcislo +7
  2. Ida Talanda +2
  3. Iga Schramm +2

Biggest Drops

  1. Alicja Kopciara -16
  2. Klaudia Kaleja -10
  3. Alicja Kobus, Karolina Rostalska -9

Unranked Players with the Highest Ranking

  1. Helena Grzybowskia  – 5
  2. Vanessa Patla – 11
  3. Malgorzata Synowiec – 14

Breakdown by Team

Number of Players by Team
A player’s team is determined by where the player played the most games during 2019-20 season

Breakdown by Position

Number of Players vs. Position

Breakdown by Country Where They Play

Percent of Players by Country
A player’s team is determined by where the player played the most games during 2019-20 season

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

2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #1

While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.

This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we continue our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.

A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.

Players #30-20     Players #6-4

Players #19-15     Player #3

Players #14-10     Player #2

Players #9-7

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)

1 – Wiktoria Sikorska (F), 17, SK Karvina, (1,0)

For the second straight year, Sikorska takes the number one spot in our rankings. When she is on the ice, she forces you to pay attention to her play. The instant the pucks lands on her stick, it is going in the opposing zone for a scoring chance. She is the best offensive player Poland has seen since Karolina Pozniewska and Kamila Wieczorek. She has all the tools to become the best Polish hockey player on the planet. If Sikorska is on the ice, there is no doubt who the best player on the surface is. She is just absolutely ridiculous at points. Take this goal vs. Hungary at the Olympic Hopes tournament. There is a defender draped over her, and she still pushes forward and is able to move the puck out around the Hungarian goalie for a goal.

Sikorska mostly played in the top Czechia women’s league this year. In her third year with SK Karvina, she recorded 21 points (11-10-21) in 11 games. This ranked fifth in the league overall, and the second by any under 18 player in the league. Sikorska also played five games in EWHL for Poland’s Silesia Brackens, where she posted three assists. Sikorska will most likely be able to jump to a higher league next season if she chooses to do so. It would also probably be best for her continued development.

Sikorska also represented the Polish U18 squad at various events, including the division 1B IIHF U18 World Championships. At the Olympic Hopes tournament, she was Poland’s best player. She scored three goals, including two highlight-reel ones. At the IIHF U18s, she recorded four points (3-1-4) in 5 games. This was down from her ten points the previous year. She did post 33 shots, an average of 6.6 shots per game. Sikorska will be able to represent Poland at the U18s one more time next year, and every opponent should be scared.

Sikorska also represented the Polish senior team at the Legacy Cup. Her best game there being a one goal and one assist effort vs. the German squad at the tournament. The 5’5 forward made her senior IIHF debut at last year’s World Championship, recording one goal. This year she most likely would have become a more significant part of the senior team at the Worlds. It is a shame we won’t get that performance.

Sikorska is leaps and bounds ahead of most of her counterparts with a very select few that can keep up. It is very noticeable when watching team Poland how far ahead she is. This isn’t just for the Polish U18 squad; any team she plays on, she will stand out. She has terrific puck control abilities, a very strong skater, with a great shot. Having an offensive player as strong as Sikorska is part of why women’s hockey is on such a rise in Poland. While the men’s team struggles to get modest contributors into stronger leagues, the women’s side is able to get players like Sikorska that lead stronger leagues.

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

2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #2

While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.

This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we continue our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.

A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.

Players #30-20     Players #6-4

Players #19-15     Players #3

Players #14-10

Players #9-7

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)

2 – Martyna Sass (G), 20, Popradské líšky, (2,0)

Last year in her ranking article I posted this picture.

sass
faceoff percentage is actually save percentage, but Slovakia’s hockey federation’s auto-translate has it as faceoff.

She dominated every single goaltending statistic. Well, guess what?

sass 2020

Back to back years in leading in every goaltending statistic in the top Slovak women’s league. Among players with at least ten games played Sass was the only one with a save percentage above .900 and the only goalie with a goals-against-average below two, where she leads by 1.03. Her stat line was absolutely ridiculous in Slovakia again, but it legit isn’t the only league she dominated this year.

Sass also appeared in seven games for the Silesia Brackens, in the EWHL. There she posted a .934 SV% and a 2.58 GAA. Her save percentage was seventh in the league among goalies with at least five games played. No matter for what club or league, Sass appeared in this year she completely locked it down.

Sass was great for Poland on the international stage as well, her best game coming vs. South Korea at the Legacy Cup tournament, where the South Korean team only got one past her compared to three last year at the World Championships. She faced off again the Czech U18 squad at the Legacy Cup as well. She played up to her standard allowing two goals that came off really lucky deflections in front. It was the type of performance that really hyped how well she was going to play at the World Championships, including a rematch against South Korea.

Poland is set in net with Sass for a long time. She is the best goalie in Poland by a wide margin, and that isn’t a shot at her backups. Sass is the most vital player on team Poland as she has the ability to straight-up steal any game for Poland. I think playing in the EWHL this year, should continue to aid her development. Sass is going to be considered one of the top European goalies of all time her career is all said and done.

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

 

 

 

2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #3

While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.

This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we continue our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.

A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.

Players #30-20     Players #6-4

Players #19-15

Players #14-10

Players #9-7

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)

3 – Julia Zielińska (D), 16,  Kiekko-Espoo, (3, 0)

It feels wrong to rank Zielińska at three. Her accomplishments deserve the top spot, but that is just how strong the top of the prospect pool is for Poland. Zielińska moved to Finland this season after spending the previous year in Slovakia. She joined Kiekko-Espoo and played across five teams in the top three women’s leagues in Finland and with their u16 squad.

Most of her time was spent with Kiekko-Espoo’ Metsis team, where the 15-year-old defensemen played ten games recording one assist. Her best production came in the third-tier league, where she posted six points (4-2-6) in six games. This was tied for sixth among U18 players in Suomi-sarja. The Sanok native would play six games in the Naisten Liiga, the top women’s league in Finland. In the Liiga, she played five games with RoKi, while on loan, and then returned to Kiekko-Espoo for one playoff game. On the junior side, she posted four points (1-3-4) in five games while captaining Kiekko-Espoo U16 in the Jr. C SM-turnaus. Her making it to these levels is impressive enough for any Polish player, but doing it at just 15-years-old is extremely impressive.

Zielińska also represented Poland this year at a senior non-IIHF event and the U18s. She held her own on the senior level, and was the defensive leader for Poland at the U18s. At the U18s, she recorded one goal on eleven shots. This was the lead among Polish defensemen. I was thrilled to see the former Janow player shoot more in this tournament. While her defensive side is the highlight of her game, she is a very capable two-way player. She hasn’t been able to show that much with a higher quality of competition she goes against.

Zielińska can already stake claim to being apart of Poland’s senior team defense and still has tremendous upside. The promise Poland has on this defense is a massive part of why I believe the women’s team and program have such a bright future, and Zielińska is the future face of that defense.

Player #2

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

2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #6-4

While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.

This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we continue our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.

A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.

Players #30-20

Players #19-15

Players #14-10

Players #9-7

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)

#6 – Helena Grzybowska (G), 18, PTH Kozice Poznań, (Unranked)

Grzybowska took any chance she had to play this year and excelled in it. In this list I have raved about how strong Poland looked at the U18s on the defensive end, a major part of that was Helena Grzybowska. She finished the U18s with a .948 save percentage percent. She also faced the second-most shots at the entire tournament. It was an absolute star-making performance. She also had strong performances at the Olympic Hope tournament for Poland.

On the club side, she played twelve games between Popradské líšky, PTH Kozice Poznań, and Silesia Brackens. In the top Slovakia women’ league, she posted a .942 sv% in 7 games for Popradské líšky. This included three shutouts. In her three games with Poznań, she posted a .950 sv%, while facing at least 35 shots in each game. In two games for the Brackens, She posted a .893 sv%, which was second among Polish goalies and U18 goalies in the league. With Sass and Grzybowska in net, Poland is set for a long time.

#5 – Iga Schramm (F), 18, PTH Kozice Poznań (7, +2)

The forward that stood out to me the most at the U18s this year was Iga Schramm. She always seemed to around the puck and making a play while there. She posted four points (2-2-4) in five games, which was tied with Wiktoria Sikorska for the lead on team Poland. She also managed 21 shots in the tournament, her shot total was second on team Poland. She also had a solid showing at the Olympic Hopes tournament, scoring vs Hungary.

In her club season with Poznań, she posted 19 points (12-7-19) in 12 games. This ranked fourteenth in the league and number one overall on Poznań. Schramm already made her senior IIHF debut last year, recording zero points in five games. I was really excited to see how she would have fared at the Worlds this year.

#4 – Zuzanna Baran (RW), 18, Šarišanka Prešov, (4, 0)

Baran didn’t really have a strong appearance at the U18s. She recorded zero points and registered 11 shots, but Poland’s offense as a whole struggled at the tournament. She is ranked fourth once again thanks to her excellent season in Slovakia. In the Slovak top women’s league, Baran posted 34 points (13-21-34) in 22 games. Her point total ties her for eleventh overall in the league, third among players under 20, and first among players under 18.

Her situational point break down was very impressive as well with 85.3% of her points coming at even strength, 8.8% on the powerplay, and 5.9% shorthanded. Seeing a player do so well offensively without a majority of those points coming in five on five hockey is a great sign about their potential. This was also an 11 point increase from last season when she had 23 points. Baran has a very bright future and should be a valuable part of Poland’s top 6.

Player #3

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2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #9-7

While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.

This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we continue our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.

A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.

Players #30-20

Players #19-15

Players #14-10

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)

9 – Karolina Baran (F), 18, KS Cracovia 1906 (10, +1)

Baran had quite the season in the PLHK B league. She recorded 27 points (18-9-27) in 16 games. Her total was second in the league only to teammate Martyna Solorz. Baran almost doubled her 14 point total from last year in two fewer games. The former UKH Debica youth player also represented Poland at the U18s, recording seven shots and zero points. She was very strong at the Olympics hope tournament though and even scored versus Slovakia. Baran looked up to par against much tougher opponents. She should be a substantial part of the bottom six for the national team for years to come.

8 – Wiktoria Gogoc (D), 20, Silesia Brackens, (5, -3)

Gogoc falls in our ranking but remains one of the best defensemen Poland has. Her fall is more to do with the number of other defensemen that impressed me this year, along with the depth in net improving significantly. Gogoc spent most of her year with the Silesia Brackens in the EWHL, there she recorded two assists in 12 games. I think she is one of the players that needed to gain some experience against tougher opponents the most. She handled it very well, and I was excited to see how she would perform at the World Championships, but alas, we won’t get a chance to.

Nevertheless, Gogoc has a long future for team Poland, possibly on the top line of the defense.

giphy

7 – Alicja Wcisło (D), 20, KH Polonia Bytom, (14, +7)

Wcisło is, without a doubt, the most offensively talented defensemen Poland has in their system right now. She was able to post substantial numbers in both the EWHL and PLHKA A. In PLHK A, she had 23 points (13-10-23) in 16 games. This was triple her total from last season in the PLHK A. In the EWHL, Wcisło put up four goals and two assists in 14 games. This was tied for sixth on the Silesia Brackens and top 20 for defensemen overall in the EWHL. Wcisło and Gogoc could easily form the top pair on Poland’s defense for a long time.

Players #6-4

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