Moving on to the players that just missed out on the top five. Just like the rest of our top ten these players have continued to rise up the rankings. While the two in this article didn’t have gigantic jumps, both moved up in the top ten and have a strong shot at making the top five next year. Outside of the ranking spots, these players had pretty identical PLHK seasons, but one of them was able to break out a bit more outside of Poland’s top league.
Players had to be under the age of 20 and at least 13 years old on September 12th, 2022. 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. Skaters must have played at least five games to be considered. While most of the ranking is my opinion, numerous Polish hockey people contributed their thoughts on players. 113 players were considered for the list and reviewed. Fifty players received a ranking.
Zięba struggled last year to find a permanent spot on the Polonia Bytom roster, but in 2022 she was one of the team’s stars. In 22 games this past year, she scored 23 goals and assisted on an additional 20 goals. Her 43 points were second among all U16 skaters and twelfth for all skaters. After four points in eight games last year, you love to see this breakout of scoring. Zięba represented team Poland U18 at the Division 1 Group B Championships but did not display the same scoring prowess as in the PLHK. She is a very talented forward who will only continue developing her offensive game as she gains more senior experience. Her key offensive smarts are on full display when on the powerplay, where she excels when defenses start to collapse.
6 – Julia Łapińska (F), 17, Stoczniowiec Gdansk (9, +3)
Łapińska played just about everywhere she should in 2022 and looked good at each spot. Her season started with representing the Polish national team at the final round of Olympic qualification, and she recorded one assist in three games. She then split her club season between Gdansk and Metropolis Katowice. While she was held pointless in ten EWHL games, her PLHK season was top-tier. In 20 games, she recorded 45 points (17G-28A-45PTS), eleventh among all PLHK skaters.
Łapińska finished her terrific season with two more national team appearances. The first was representing the senior Poland team at the Division 1 Group B World Championships. The second was as a part of the U18 squad for the September tournament, where she posted one assist in four games. Łapińska cemented herself in 2022 as a part of the senior national team and their quest for gold.
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!
We have now hit the top ten of our rankings. It was a really explosive year for newcomers on the list, as three players who were not ranked the previous year have found themselves in the top ten. While three other players have gigantic rises to make the top. In fact, a whole four players from last year’s top ten were able to survive and stay in the ten best.
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)
10 – Lena Zięba (F), 15, Polonia Bytom, (Not Ranked)
Zięba jumps all the way to the top 10. She had just missed being ranked in the previous edition after a strong year with Janow in the PLHK B and later training with the Metropolis Katowice in the EWHL. She moved from Janow to Polonia Bytom, a great sign for anyone’s future. Not only that, but she delivered at both the senior and junior levels. She scored 15 goals and added two assists in 19 games in the Żak Starszy ŚZHL while posting three goals and one assist in eight PLHK A games. She is showing a lot of promise, and I’m very disappointed we haven’t been able to see her at the IIHF level yet. She scored two goals and two assists in two exhibition games vs. Latvia. This was all done in her aged 14 season.
9 – Julia Łapińska (F), 16, Stoczniowiec Gdansk, (21, +12)
Łapińska makes a huge jump on the list, moving from the 20s to the top ten. The Elblag native posted a new career-high in points for the PLHK A with 12 points (5G, 7A, 12PTS) in 15 games. Łapińska has continued to improve and improve on her craft in Gdansk and is poised to be a strong young player for Poland. Her talent level is beyond her years, and she is already contributing to senior teams in a major role at just 16-years-old. I’m not sure what her ceiling would project to be right now. I think her floor is a top PLHK player who makes national team appearances.
8 – Maja Brzezińska (F), 16, Stoczniowiec Gdansk, (Not Ranked)
From one great young Gdansk star to the next, with more to come, Brzezińska comes in ranked in the top ten in her first ranking. She is also the second-highest debut ranking for this year. It is well deserved after posting eight goals and seven assists in 12 regular-season games this year. Her 15 points were seventh among all skaters in PLHK A. Another player with lost U18 IIHF experiences due to the pandemic cancellations. But she made her presence felt when Poland took on Latvia, scoring two goals and assisting on five other goals in just two games. She generates scoring rates at such a high rate whenever on the ice. Often leaving her teammates with easy finishes.
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 start 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.
Honorable Mentions (In No Order): Aleksandra Górska, Antonina Puchowska, Wiktoria Kedra, and Julia Grzelak
Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)
Solecka returned to Tychy this year after playing with Janow for the past two seasons. After recording 0 points in 9 games with Janow in the PLHK A, she put up 5 points (2-3-5) in 14 games for Tychy. After some time apart, she is appearing to become a solid forward for Tychy.
29 – Julia Zaborowska (D), 17, KH Polonia Bytom, (Unranked)
Zaborowska made her IIHF debut this year for Poland at the U18s as part of a very good defensive core. I can’t recall her doing any bad, but also nothing that really stood out, which is probably best for a non-offensive defenseman. Her season in Poland was not much either as she only played three games for Polonia.
28 – Olga Jaskulska (F), 15, GKS Stoczniowiec Gdańsk, (Unranked)
Jaskulska was able to earn a larger role in Gdańsk this year and recorded her first three assists in the top Polish women’s league. She also was able to slightly up her production at the junior level from 11 points (7-4-13) to 13 points (7-6-13). Jaskulska is still a very young player, and her play at the top level shows some potential. She will most likely be able to earn a spot on the U18 squad in the coming years.
27 – Katarzyna Zaborska (D), 17, UKHK Unia Oświęcim, (Unranked)
Zaborska looked a lot better at the U18s this year, and well I don’t really believe in plus-minus, she was one of only three Polish players to finish positive. She also had a much stronger season for Oświęcim finishing with 5 points (4-1-5) in 15 games, compared to 3 points (1-2-3) in 17 games last season. I feel she could be a solid two-way player for Poland.
26 – Justyna Zyla (F), 15, UKHK Unia Oświęcim, (Unranked)
The youngest and second smallest player on Poland’s U18 squad was impressive at times during the U18s. While her stat sheet was pretty blank with only one shot, she showed she should definitely be back on team Poland next year. She also notched two goals for Oświęcim, during her club season.
Karolina has one of the biggest drops from the list last year. Last year she had an okay showing at the U18s aided by a strong season with UKH Białe Jastrzębie. This year her production dropped by 6 points and her penalty minutes tripled. Along with the number of defenders that impressed at the U18s, her drop was inevitable.
Kopciara had drops in production at both the U18 level and with Tychy. After posting 3 points (2-1-3) at the U18s last year, this year she went pointless at the event. Kopciara was a force last year in the PLHK with 9 goals in 17 games, but only recorded 2 goals in 4 games this year. A lack of production at the u18s and lack of playing during the regular season are the reasons for her drop, but she remains a very strong goal scorer.
23 – Alicja Mota (F), 16, KH Polonia Bytom, (Unranked)
The soon to be 16-year-old is already a three time champion in Poland with Polonia Bytom. Mota posted career highs in games played, goals, assists, and points this year with Polonia after recording 5 points (2-3-5) in 15 games. She also represented Poland at the U18s, but only recorded 4 penalty minutes. She showed some potential at the tournament but was too often overmatched. She also represented Poland at the youth Olympics.
Sowa was apart of the worst line at the 2019 U18s, but that was not the case in 2020. Her play drastically improved, though Poland was much better defensively overall. Sowa’s biggest jump came with Polonia. This year she recorded 8 points (1-7-8) in 15 games to help Polonia to first place. This was after she was pointless in 10 games the previous year.
21 – Julia Łapińska (F), 15, GKS Stoczniowiec Gdańsk, (Unranked)
At just 14 years old, Lapinska was able to finish top 25 in PLHK scoring. She had a great year for Gdańsk recording 13 points (6-7-13) in 10 games. This included good performances at the junior level as well. She is very short at 4’9 and likely her height contributed to her being left off the U18 squad, but I have no doubt if she keeps up her production she will make the team next year.
Lapies legit turns 14 on March 15th, the 13-year-old finished top 15 in PLHK scoring with 24 points (8-16-24) in 15 games. Lapies comes out of a promising Lodz youth hockey program that is continuing to pump out a lot of great talent. She has produced at a strong rate anywhere she has gone. She will likely be joining the Polish U18 squad very soon.