Category: Womens Hockey

2021 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #15-11

After more delays, we are now into the top half of the rankings with our best 15 players. Some players in the top 15 definitely benefit from their reputation as their amount of games was limited. The next five players are a mix of players that have made big strides or taken a big fall in our rankings, along with one defender that continues to just miss out on making the top ten. We will also see our top-ranked goalie, a spot that was up for grabs after Sass aged out of the list. 

Players had to be under 20 on June 30th, 2021. 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. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. Ninety-five players were considered for the list and reviewed, and fifty players received a ranking. Players 50-31 will be revealed at the end of the series in the breakdown article. Only the top 30 players receive a report.

Players 30-21

Players 20-16

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2020, change in rankings)

15 – Katarzyna Zaborska (D), 19, Unia Oswiecim, (27, +12)

We finished the last article with two straight Oscwiecim players and open the list with one to make it three straight. Zaborska makes her biggest jump up the list in her final year in the rankings. The almost veteran of the PLHK at this point had a great season in the PLHK. The biggest reason for her large jump was she became a full-time member of Metropolis Katowice in the EWHL, playing 13 games. Zaborska was one of two U20 players to play in the EWHL for Poland this year. Clearly a sign of what the management and coaching staff think of her. She is definitely one to watch for senior national team games soon. 

14 – Karolina Baran, (F), 19, KS Cracovia 1906 (9, -5)

Baran drops in her final year on the list. The talented forward remains a big part of Poland’s future. This drop was more about a couple of new players receiving huge debut rankings versus her own play. The Debica native posted 25 points (13G-12A-25PTS) in 16 games, down two points from her 2020 total. Her regular season 20 points were tied for fourth in the PLHK B. I would imagine Baran has a chance to start vying for national team spots soon, but no chances have come in the EWHL. 

Baran goal vs. Oswiecim

13 – Alicja Kobus, (F), 17, PTH Kozice Poznan (18, +5)

Kobus climb up the rankings after posting 17 points in 12 regular-season games, and this was up from her last season in the PLHK A. Her 17 ponts were also sixth among all skaters in the PLHK B. Kobus would have made her third appearance for the U18 squad in 2021 if not for Covid. Kobus has performed exceptionally well at the B level but not as strong against Poland’s top teams, that should change as she continues to gain more experience. 

Kobus drop pass assist vs. Latvia

12 – Helena Grzybowska (G), 19, PTH Kozice Poznan (12, +6)

Grzybowska took a large fall in the rankings and only didn’t fall further due to it being a covid season. A break-out year in 2020 saw success in the EWHL, PLHK, Slovakia’s top league, and, of course, on the international stage. It was the kind of performance that raised the question of Poland possibly having a lethal duo with Sass and Grzybowska. In 2021 though, Grzybowska only played in four games. The Poznan native posted a .760% save percentage in her lone regular-season appearance but did appear in form with a .906% save percentage in her three playoff appearances.

11 – Vanessa Patla (D), 19, Polonia Bytom (11, +0)

Patla stays consistent in her final ranking. A rise in the ranking would have happened if not for a big jumper. The Polonia Bytom two-way defender posted a new career-high in points after recording five goals and three assists in 15 games. Patla appeared in the EWHL during the 2020 season but did not make any appearances for the team in 2021. The soon-to-be 20-year-old is already a three-time PLHK champion.

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_.

2021 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #20-16

We are now in the top 20 of the rankings. This group features one of the biggest risers and one of the highest new additions to the list. Compared to the men’s list, there is a lot of shake-up in the top 20 section. While most of this, I’ll attribute to covid years, quite a few young players really shot up the rankings. 

Players had to be under 20 on June 30th, 2021. 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. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. Ninety-five players were considered for the list and reviewed, and fifty players received a ranking. Players 50-31 will be revealed at the end of the series in the breakdown article. Only the top 30 players receive a report.

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2020, change in rankings)

20 – Alicja Sowa (F), 17, Polonia Bytom, (22, +2

Polonia Bytom players are sometimes hard to fully judge on stats due to the stacked nature of the team, especially with the number of veterans. Last year, Sowa’s numbers were down but she still managed three assists in eight games. She also scored her first career goal in Poland’s U16 league with Polonia Bytom. She likely would have been named to her third straight U18 squad if not for the tournament cancellation. Sowa will still be eligible for the U18s in 2022. 

19 – Julia Bujak (G), 18, Polonia Bytom, (Not Ranked)

Bujak jumps high on the list after she was likely to be the starting goalie for Poland at this year’s U18. There was not a lot to go on for young goalies last year. In both of her PLHK A appearances, she only played a combined 30 minutes but didn’t allow a goal in that time. She did play in two men’s u16 league games as well, allowing 16 goals, in matches Polonia Bytom lost 35-7. Again, there’s not much to say about a season with zero recorded full games. Throughout the year, Bujak was named to multiple U18 national teams battling for the number 1 spot but did not play in the games. Latvia. 

18 – Zofia Postel (D), 19, UKH Biale Jastrzebie, (19, +1)

 Zofia Postel moves up a spot on the list in her final year. The two-way defender followed her strong 2020 season with a similar 2021, posting seven assists in 13 games. It was a career-high in points, but the first season she failed to score a goal in the PLHK. Four of her assists were also primary assists, a new career-high. Her size will always work against her, and skating will need to improve, but she showed a lot of great reads and passing ability this year. Making those key passes and breakouts already put her ahead of many Polish defensewomen. 

17 – Anna Kot (D), 17, Unia Oswiecim, (17, +0)

Kot is staying even with her ranking this year. Kot is one of the best U18 defenders in Poland, and its a shame she has missed out on two U18 tournaments. She will turn 18 at the beginning of next year too, so 2022 will be her final U18 team appearance. She did play in Poland U18’s two games against Latvia U18, picking up one assist. In her PLHK season, Kot recorded one assist in 11 games. In the playoffs, her production picked up with two goals and an assist in five games. A rising star in the Polish ranks, expect to start watching her for some senior chances in just the next couple of years. 

Anna Kot Shot and Assist vs Latvia U18

16 – Justyna Zyla (F), 16, Unia Oswiecim (26, +10

From one Osiwiecim player to the next on our list. Zyla has long been playing in high-level situations at such a young age, and during the 2020-21 season, she had her breakout year. Oswiecim was the lowest-scoring team in PLHK A, but Zyla still managed a new career-high in points with two goals and assist in 12 games, and then five goals in five games during the PLHK playoffs. Add in a solid junior season, and Zyla really started to show she is ready for top-line chances. This included what would have been her second U18 tournament last year, but she will be another player to miss multiple U18s due to the pandemic.

Justyna Zyla Goal vs. Latvia

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Ukrainian Forward Tatiana Onyshchenko Acquires Polish Citizenship

The Polish national team has received a big boost as Tatiana Onyshchenko has gained Polish citizenship. The 22-year-old Ukrainian forward has excelled in Poland and has long been one of the best skaters in the PLHK. This move has long been rumored and was years in the making, and now we know she will be suiting up for Poland as soon as the World Championships this year in April.

Onyshchenko first came to Poland for the 2014 season. Since then she has played in Poland for Stoczniowiec Gdansk every year except for a one-year stop in Sweden with Karlskrona HK. She captured a championship in 2015 while securing two silver medals as well. Since she arrived in the PLHK, the Kyiv native has had the third-most points with 255 points across 121 games. She also appeared for Metropolis Katowice scoring 12 goals and assisting on four in 24 games across the past two years.

The Polish national team upswing has continued. Onyshchenko will be the first import to suit up for the team. She will also easily be one of the top forwards on the national team, massively helping shore up the top six. This April team Poland will have their first chance to play in the World Championship since 2019, when the red and white won bronze. After the team’s success in the Olympic qualifier, Poland will be looking for gold this year.

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_.

2021 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #30-21

We are finally beginning the women’s list for the 2021 season. I debated a lot about if I should make a list this year. For women’s hockey during the 2020-2021 season, there was a 12 game PLHK season, along with maybe five playoff games. A few top players also have the EWHL season and national team games. At most, you have around a 35 game season if a player played in every single one of those games, which for U20 players was not the case. We are working with a highly limited number of games, especially ones on film, to rank players on. While I never like to judge players on A single international events, IIHF events give us five games with footage where young players had a chance to play. It can represent one-third or more of a competitive season for a U18 player.  

I wanted to make a list this year, as every single time Poland’s women team faces a new roadblock, they still find a way to grow. We had some great years and break-out seasons in the PLHK, along with a few players taking large career jumps. I will say take these rankings with more than a grain of salt. I am heavily relying on stats, limited footage, and a few outside opinions. I never intend for my rankings to be material for scouting, but more like a who to watch list for fans.

Players had to be under 20 on June 30th, 2021. 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. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. Ninety-five players were considered for the list and reviewed, and fifty players received a ranking. Players 50-31 will be revealed at the end of the series in the breakdown article. Only the top 30 players receive a report.

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2020, change in rankings)

30 – Amelia Bula (RW), 17, Naprzod Janow, (Not Ranked)

Bula has continued her steady offensive production increase reaching a new career-high in goals with nine in 15 games. Bula’s five goals in PLHK B found her tied for 12th among all skaters in the league. In total, she added three assists for a new career-high in points with 12. The goal-scoring right-winger would have undoubtedly made her first appearance on Poland’s U18 squad. She was named to the initial tournament but will be aged out for next year if the tournament is not rescheduled. 

Bula goal vs Latvia U18

29 – Alicja Kopciara (F), 19,  Unia Oswiecim, (24, -5)

Kopciara takes another fall in the rankings. As the forward gets closer and closer to graduating from the list, their production has not increased as you would like to see from a veteran of the PLHK at this point. With just two goals in PLHK A, it was the lowest total of her career. She did add three goals and two assists in five PLHK playoff games. A player that can hang with the best of them in Poland, but may not be a national team level forward yet. 

Alicja Kopciara Goal vs Cracovia

28 –  Karolina Rostalska (D), 20, UKH Biale Jastrzebie (25, -3)

Rostalska takes a slight fall on the list again. After a breakout year in 2019 with 11 points, her production has decreased in both years since, and not something you want to see from a player gaining more experience. In total, she had two goals and three assists in 15 games. Of course, they’re also a defensewoman, so I don’t want to judge them on production, but it was also what happened to get them ranked so highly previously. Has above average height for the PLHK and uses her long reach for easy takeaways at times.

Rostalska Goal vs Podhale

27 – Adriana Solecka (RW), 19, Atomowki Tychy (30, +3

I feel for the players on Tychy in 2021, as there was not much to work with at times. In total, the team only scored 14 goals. A fifth of those goals involved Solecka, who finished with a goal and two assists in 12 games. Not a great year, but she kept pace with the previous production while her team went from 19 goals to 14. Her three points this year were third on Tychy. Again another player where stats don’t tell their whole story. 

Solecka goal vs Oswiecim

26 – Anna Zaborska (F), 19, Unia Oswiecim, (Not Ranked)

Zaborska has steadily earned more and more in Oswiecim, and she is now becoming a more reliable option on the offensive side. During the 2021 season, Zaborska set a new career-high with four points (3G-1A-4PTS) in 12 games. She would also add another goal and two assists in five PLHK playoff games. The Krakow native is primed to earn a lot more chances for the 2022 season. 

Zaborska Goal vs Cracovia

25 – Olga Jaskulska (F), 16, Stoczniowiec Gdansk, (28, +3) 

Jaskulska switched over to the Gdansk organization full time in 2021 after appearing for UKS Wikingowie Elbląg and Gdansk in 2020. In total, she posted two assists in seven games, which is slightly below her production in 2021. She also played ten games with the men’s Stoczniowiec Gdansk u18 team scoring one goal. Most likely will be a U18 appointment soon, possibly next season. 

24 – Patrycja Wójcik (D), 16, Polonia Bytom, (Not Ranked) 

Wójcik is someone I was hoping to see at the U18s. I have heard a lot of great things, with one person telling me they were a guaranteed national team defender soon. That seemed to be proving true this year after rejoining Polonia Bytom after a season in Janow. Playing for the best team in Poland’s women division in a solid defensive role is a good sign for one’s future. While we don’t judge players on anything that happened after June 30, getting chances on Metropolis Katowice is a good sign for how the national team sees her. She played 11 games in Polonia Bytom, with 25 games in the juniors. 

Wójcik shot and assist vs Latvia

23 – Zuzanna Rduch (F), 18, UKH Biale Jastrzebie (Not Ranked) 

Rduch has continued to establish herself as one of the best offensive options on Jastzrebie. This year she posted another career-high in points with 32 (21G-11A-32PTS) in 15 games across the PLHK B and C. Her 32 points ere the second-most points among all B league players and tied for second in goals.

Rduch Goal vs Podhale

Jasztrzebie was one of the few teams I was able to watch a lot of film on this year, even if only random highlights. In those highlights, though Rduch and Szymik were an amazing duo. Rduch likely would have had a shot at making the U18 squad last year, but unfortunately had already aged out for this year.

Rduch Rush down the ice vs. Cracovia

22 – Alicja Mota (F), 17, Polonia Bytom, (23, +1

This is where having to rely on statistics hurts a lot. Mota is a young talented forward on a powerhouse team in Polonia Bytom. Offensive chances may be few and far between, and she did get a few opportunities on the second line but was mostly relegated to the third or bottom line. The Ruda Slaska native saw her production drop from five points in 14 games to two in 11. Mota has a lot of talent and would have continued to work her way up the U18 squad roster. She likely missed two U18 IIHF tournaments due to covid. In some games to end the year with the U18 squad, she recorded two goals and an assist versus Latvia.

Mota goal vs Latvia

21 – Matylda Stępień (F), 13, PTH Kozice Poznan, (Not Ranked) 

Every year a player on the list makes me feel old. That title goes to Matylda Stępień, who was born in 2008. At just 12-years-old, they were able to post 23 points (15G-8A-23PTS) in 15 games. This was their rookie senior season as well. The Warszawa native also played for the Warszawa men’s junior team recording three goals and three assists in seven games. I hope they are on a path similar to that of Magdalena Łąpieś.

Stępień Goal vs Podhale

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Zbigniew Wróbel to take charge of Women’s National Team

It has been a busy time in Polish hockey, with the women’s side of the sport facing a lot of upheaval. First, the U18 squad saw their first chance to play in two years taken away as the IIHF canceled all tournaments set for January. Then just a few days ago, it was announced that long-time Polish national team coach, Ivan Bednar, would be leaving. Bednar had been part of the quick development of women’s hockey in Poland. It was quite a shock to see him leave mid-season at the time, especially just days after the U18 squad saw their tournament canceled. In the end, his contract had expired at the end of December, according to Marta Zawadzka in the PZHL’s release.

With the Slovakian head coach’s contract up, the national team decided to go in a different direction naming Zbigniew Wróbel the new head coach. The 53-year-old former PHL forward retired from hockey in 2006. Since then he has coached around Jastrzebie hockey. Winning quite a few medals in the PLHK with Białe Jastrzębie. Then later became the top junior coach for JKS GKS Jastrzębie. Given the great amount of talent that developed during his time in the organization, there is no question that he appears to be a great coach for helping create stars.

The Women’s national team will be featuring quite a few young players that are taking very quick stepsin their careers. Ida Talanda, Julia Lapinska, Julia Zielinska, Magdalena Lapies, and Wiktoria Sikorska all represented Poland at the final round of Olympic qualification while being 18 or younger. The next time we will see the women’s senior team at the IIHF level is during the Division 1B World Championships from April 8th to the 14th, which will be hosted in Poland! No doubt that Zbigniew Wróbel will be looking to earn a medal during his first shot as a national team head coach.

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_.

The Future Core of the Polish Women’s Team Continues to Thrive

Sports are an escape from reality at times, but things like the COVID-19 pandemic can be impossible to ignore. COVID-19 has caused a lot of leagues to be continually delayed or even outright canceled. For women’s hockey, that risk is even greater. Women’s clubs don’t receive the same funding as their male counterparts. Things were looking bleak with funding already being at risk as well as the increased cost of things like COVID testing. The IIHF was quick to cancel pretty much all women’s tournaments while still fighting to hold their select few high revenue events. If there was anything that was going to slow down the revolution of women’s hockey in Poland, it was going to be COVID. That has not happened at all.

The Polish women’s league retained all of their teams, with only PTH Kozice Poznań dropping down to PLHK B. Not only that, but Metropolis Katowice, formerly the Silesia Brackens, are still playing in the EWHL. The EWHL gives national team members chances to play against some top European clubs. The biggest thing is the young core of Poland continuing to play abroad in top leagues around Europe. Wiktoria Sikorska made the jump to the top women’s league in Europe in the Svenska damhockeyligan. While Julia Zielińska returned to Finland, Iga Schramm made her first attempt at a league outside Poland. Multiple young Polish players have also popped up in Slovakia, but the league has yet to play many games. 

Wiktoria Sikorska

Wiktoria Sikorska has long been the #1 prospect in Poland. She is easily the best young forward Poland has seen since Kamila Wieczorek. Even then, Sikorska reached a height that Wieczorek has yet to, as Sikorska is the first-ever Polish player to appear in Sweden’s Svenska damhockeyligan. The Svenska damhockeyligan is considered to be the top women’s league in Europe. 

Through 18 games this year, the 17-year-old forward has a goal and assist with Göteborg HC. While the numbers are not as eye-popping as we are used to with her, they are very impressive in context. Göteborg HC is the worst team in the SDHL. They are currently 0-18-2, with only 20 goals on the year. The team’s leading scorer has seven points, so not a lot of support for Sikorksa. Her two points also rank 9th among U18 skaters. Only 25 other U18 players have played five games in the SDHL this year, so getting there is not an easy accomplishment. She currently is tied for the lead in shots on goals for the team with 44. 

Julia Zielińska 

Julia Zielińska had already made a statement in Finland last year with an impressive season at just 15 years old. I usually have a rule of avoiding talking about players who are under 16, but Zielińska is one of the few exceptions to the rule, as she is impossible to ignore. The soon to be 16-years-old returned to Kiekko-Espoo for 2020-21. 

Since her return to Finland, she has been one of the best two-way defensemen in the country. This included a recent four-goal game! She has splint her season between Kiekko-Espoo’s team in the Naisten Liiga and Mestis. In the Metsis, she has 17 points (8G-9A-17PTS) in 12 games. Her point total ranks 28th in the league and sixth among all U18 players in the league. It is also sixth among all defensemen and second among all U18 defensemen. This is excellent production for her. In the Naisten Liiga, she has managed two games, her first two regular-season games with Kiekko-Espoo. While Sikorksa has a few other forwards, who rival her success, no other polish defensemen rivals the heights that Zielińska has reached. 

Iga Schramm

Iga Schramm is the last of the young polish core making a trip far from Poland this year. Schramm signed pretty close to the start of the season with Neuchâtel Hockey Academy Dames. The team plays in the top Swiss women’s league, the SWHL A. The 18-year-old forward has played 12 games so far with zero points yet. The team currently sits second-last in the league with 25 goals in 14 games, not the strongest team around her. Playing in a league of this caliber is extremely valuable for Schramm, though, who has shown extensive growth almost every year. 

The Future

These three players are not the only ones who are taking on the challenge outside of Poland. Martyna Sass and Zuzanna Baran are both in the top Slovak league. At the same time, I have also recently talked to a young player’s parent, whose child will be looking to make the jump. Players inside Poland are also both making huge strides, whether in the EWHL or PLHK. The pandemic might have slowed their ascent up the IIHF rankings, but it has not slowed down the progress of women’s hockey in Poland.

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_.

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.

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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.