Tag: Bemidji State University

Julia Zielińska To Be The First Polish Woman to Play NCAA D1 Hockey

While Poland has seen a few big moves today as the PHL transfer window closes, the most significant move out of Poland today was a history-making college commitment. Julia Zielińska has made her NCAA commitment to Bemidji State University for Fall 2024. She will be the first Polish woman to play NCAA division 1 hockey when she suits up for the Beavers during the 2024-2025 season. The defenseman has already made history for Poland, being the first to appear in Finland’s top league, the Naisten Liiga, and now she will make more history in North America. This is another massive step for Polish hockey!

The 18-year-old defenseman has been moving up the ranks and lineup in Finland for Kiekko-Espoo since 2020. She previously started her career in the Naprzod Janow system before moving to Slovakia with Popradske Lisky. This current season has been her most successful in Finland. In a career-high 26 Naisten Liiga games, she has 15 points (3G-12A-15PTS). This ranks 19th among all defensemen and the fifth most for U20 defensemen. She has also quickly become a staple of the Polish national team. In 2022, she represented Poland at the Olympic Qualifiers and Senior World Championships.

The Bemidji State Beavers have played in the NCAA’s division 1 since the 1999 season. They play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and sit last in the conference for the 2023 season. A strong two-way defenseman like Zielińska should be a huge help. They have been coached by Jim Scanlan since 2015, who previously assistant coached the Men’s teams at the University of North Dakota and Western Michigan University. Polish top prospect Jakub Lewandowski plays for Bemidji State’s men’s team. This obviously means that Bemidji State is Poland’s favorite college hockey team.

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Jakub Lewandowski Makes NCAA Commitment

One of Poland’s best young players has taken another major step in their hockey career. 19-year-old Jakub Lewandowski has made an NCAA commitment to Bemidji State University. He will be only the third Polish player to play in the NCAA, and the first since Filip Starzyński in 2018.

Lewandowski quickly emerged as a special talent for Poland. He moved to Czechia at just 16-years-old to play at the top level of U18 hockey in the country. He moved up the ranks quickly making it to the top level in 2019. After his breakout year with 48 points in 48 games in the Czechia U19 league, he moved over to the USA. The Polish forward was able to make it to the USHL, the top level of junior hockey in the states. With the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, he recorded 20 points in 42 games. He was considered a possible late round NHL draft pick at the beginning of the year.

The Torun native has also represented Poland twice on the international stage. He had a seven point tournament in 2018 at the U18s. His best performance though was a 13 point performance at the U20s in 2019. Last season due to COVID-19, Lewandowski returned to Europe and HC Vitkovice. Unfortunately, the Czechia junior leagues would also stop playing after a handful of games. The 6’3 forward still managed four goals and one assist in five games.

Bemidji State University has been playing at the top level of college hockey since 1999. Their best year making it to the frozen four in 2009. Last year the team managed a 22-10-5 record. This was good for the second best record in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Beavers from Northern Minnesota have been coached by Tom Serratore since 1999. It was also the former home of NHL players Brad Hunt (Wild) and Zach Whitecloud (Golden Knights).

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_.