Tag: KH Torun

Elias Elomaa Returns To KH Torun After Year in Mestis

A familiar face is back in Torun after a year back in Finland’s second league, the Mestis. Elias Elomaa has signed a one-year deal for the 2023 season. Elomaa played the final half of the 2021 season in the PHL with Torun.

The 25-year-old forward spent last season in the Metsis with Peliitat. During the 2022 season, he posted 10 goals and 21 assists in 59 games. This was a career-high in goals, assists, and points for his Metsis career. He played in Finland’s second league from 2019 to 2021 with KOOVEE and Jokipojat. For his Metsis career, the Tampere native has scored 24 goals and assisted on 44 in 170 games. Between his Metsis seasons, he had a short stint in Poland, recording 10 points (5G-5A-5PTS) in 16 games.

It is always good to see an import that wants to return to Poland. For Torun, the Finnish influence continues. He is the fourth Finnish player to join the team for the 2023 season and is among the 10 to play in the northernmost club over the last three years. The club will be relying on the Finnish forward to produce as he did in 2021, as the team lost all eight of their leading scorers. If his career year in Finland is anything to go off, it seems he has continued to grow!

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KH Torun Adds Niki Koskinen to Their Offense

Another Fin has signed in Poland, as KH Torun inked Niki Koskinen to a one-year deal. He will be the third Finnish player in the Torun lineup and already the 11th overall in the PHL. With Finnish Head Coach Teemu Elomo at the helm, it is not surprising to see a heavy Finnish influence on recruiting.

At only 24-years-old Niki Koskinen will be relied on as a top player for Tourn. Last year, he made his first trip outside Finland by playing in Sweden’s HockeyEttan. There he had 22 points (7G-15A-22PTS) in 44 games. The 6’0 forward had bounced around Finland’s second league, the Metsis, from 2019 to 2021. In total, he recorded 54 points in 94 games. He also got a cup of coffee in the Liiga, playing seven games with KooKoo during the 2019 season.

KH Torun continues to search for help on offense and defense after the team committed to not re-signing Belarusian or Russian players. The club also lost leading scorer Robert Arrak to Cracovia in free agency. So far, only their ninth and tenth leading scorers are committed to returning. Koskinen will join his countrymen Jesse Ahonen and Mark Viitanen in helping reshape the Torun offense.

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KH Torun Signs Veteran Latvian Goalie Ervīns Muštukovs

KH Torun has made their biggest splash of the off-season in adding Ervīns Muštukovs. The veteran Latvian goalie signed a one-year agreement with the club. He has represented Latvia at six international events.

The 38-year-old goalie spent the last two years with HC Poruba in the Chance Liga. Before that, he played worldwide, including in the ECHL and KHL. Though he most often defended in between pipes in the EIHL and Denmark, along with his home country’s top league. His best year came in 2011 when Muštukovs won an EIHL championship and was named netminder of the year. He has represented Latvia at six IIHF events, including the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.

Toruń continues to reshape its roster. As the club committed to not signing Belarusian or Russian players, there were many spots to fill. Last year, Finnish goalie Conrad Mölder was the starting netminder, but it appears the club will not be bringing him back now. Muštukovs will be backed up by Polish goalie Mateusz Studziński.

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KH Torun Nabs Liiga Executive as New Head Coach

KH Torun has named their new head coach in 43-year-old Jussi Tupamäki. The Finnish coach currently works as the head coach for the Estonia National team. On the club side, he worked for JYP in the Liiga last year as their Director of Player Development, along with joining the coaching staff as an assistant in October.

KH Torun needed a new head coach after parting ways with Yuri Chukh. Belarusian coach Yuri Chukh had been leading Torun since 2017, helping the team work their way up from the second league. He had a very strong knack for finding diamonds in the rough. Under him, Torun was able to find PHL stars out of the lower leagues of Europe. Torun finished strong under his leadership, including 5th in 2021. The team under Chukh relied heavily on imports much to the dismay of some Polish players.

Torun has recently stated a desire to develop more home grown talent. That seems to make Tupamäki a perfect fit. The former Liiga coach has a vast amount of experience. He started as a head coach in the women’s second league in Finland. He moved to coaching the junior ranks, even coaching in the top junior leagues of Finland. He then served as a head coach for the Estonia national team, and in the Mestis and EBEL. In 2021, he joined JYP in the Liiga as their director of player development. Tupamäki has experience as a coach, director of player development, director of coaching, and scout. He really ticks all the boxes that Torun needed.

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One Young Player To Watch on Every PHL Team

The PHL season is fully underway. With plenty of teams facing a COVID-19 related cut to their roster. This left plenty of roster spaces open for young players to earn. COVID-19 also caused PZHL U23 to be left out of the plans for the hockey year. It also left many players without a way to play a sizable amount of games in the PHL, which is an excellent development experience. If a player were going to get meaningful minutes in the PHL, they would have to prove it to their clubs’ coach that they are ready to contribute in the league.

I think those conditions make it the perfect time to check in on the young talent for each PHL club. I also am setting a goal to pick players that are not as traditionally regarded as a top player. Sure Dominik Pas is a great young player, but he has also been in the PHL for years now. So I am setting a rule of less than 50 PHL games coming into the year.

Cracovia KrakowPatryk Gosztyla. In the past couple of years, Krakow started to make an apparent effort in bringing in young talent. Gosztyla was part of that initial group. The 6’2 defensemen got a bit lost in the shuffle in 2019 after returning to Poland from the Slovak junior system. This year though, he has cemented himself as part of the Krakow defensemen lineup, already topping his games played total from last year. The 20-year-old also has posted five points (1G-4A-5PTS) in six games in the Polish second league. Honorable Mention: Igor Augustyniak

GKS Tychy – Kacper Gruźla. Gruźla had a breakout year last year in the Polish second league. This earned him a long term spot with PZHL U23 and an appointment to the Polish U20 squad. This year he has run with it playing in six games for GKS Tychy. Since then, he has already impacted the boxscore, recording two goals and two assists. If the 6’1 forward continues his upward trend, he could find himself with a larger PHL and national team role. Honorable Mention: Jan Krzyżek

JKH GKS Jastrzębie – Dawid Wróblewski. Jastrzebie has the most young talent of any team in Poland. With that, a lot of the talent has already played more than 50 games, as a lot of the talent has long been promoted to the PHL. Wróblewski saw a lot of action across different Polish junior teams putting up solid production wherever he went. This year, with Jastrzębie not having a team in Poland’s second league, the 6’4 forward was loaned to Polonia Bytom. There he has put up six goals and six assists in eight games. He should be able to start trying to force his way into the Jastrzebie roster. Honorable Mention: Marcin Płachetka

KH GKS Katowice – Maciej Miarka. Miarka joined the Katowice squad after seeing the logjam of goalies in Jastrzebie. In Katowice, the former Poland U18 and U20 goalie should play quite a few games in the PHL this year. In Katowice, the Łódź native will be backing up veteran Slovakian goalie Juraj Šimboch. So far, in two PHL games this season, the 6’1 goalie has a .912 SV%. Including stopping all seven shots, he faced in relief against defending champs GKS Tychy. Honorable Mention: Marcin Wyśnik

KH Energa Toruń – Oskar Bajwenko. Before we knew if this hockey year would go on at all, Toruń had a team mostly of junior players with a few imports and returning veterans. One of the few junior players from that group to earn a contract was Oskar Bajwenko. Bajwenko is a smaller defenseman but not afraid to go into the corners and get physical. He has received a small amount of junior national team consideration. He is a project. He could develop into a tremendous physical defenseman with two-way abilities. He has only played in one game so far in the PHL, but with the start the club has had this season, it is understandable they may not want to change up the lineup. Honorable Mention; Filip Mazurkiewicz

Podhale Nowy Targ – Ernest Bochnak. Nowy Targ came into this season, emphasizing finding new Polish talent and has already tried out quite a few new young players. This includes Ernest Bochnak. Bochnak comes over after time in the Czech and Finnish junior systems. Last year he played most in the third level of Czech hockey, recording two goals and four assists in twenty-two games. Bochnak has long been one of the best Polish junior players. He now has a chance to show that in Podhale. Through eight games, he has two points notching both a goal and an assist. Honorable Mention: Fabian Kapica

Stoczniowiec Gdansk – Michał Zając. I have many feelings about the club and how they will be as a place for developing young talent. The team will undoubtedly provide a lot of value to young players in terms of ice time. Zając is taking advantage of that, playing in each of the team’s games so far. In those ten matches, he has recorded one goal and three assists. This matches his production from last year with PZHL U23 but in a much smaller role. He is making the most of his opportunities. The 6’1 forward would have easily made the Polish U20 squad if not for COVID. Honorable Mention: Bartosz Wołoszyk

STS Sanok – Jakub Bukowski. Sanok is one of the youngest teams in the PHL, leaving many options for this choice. For their pick, I went with Jabuk Bukowski as he is probably the most pro hockey ready. He showed up well in the pre-season and has done well so far in the regular season. He has three goals and one assist. His point total is tied for third on Sanok. The talented forward showed a lot of potential in smaller Czech and Swiss leagues and now has a great chance to show his skills in Poland. He has been given many top line chances in Sanok, giving him an excellent opportunity to develop further. Honorable Mention: Maciej Witan

Unia Oswiecim – Sebastian Lipiński. While I tried to pick less known players for this list, the gap between Lipiński and the rest of the Oswiecim roster was too big. Lipiński is one of the best young goaltenders Poland has seen in a long time, with few rarely even able to play the amount of PHL games he has at his age. So far, in his lone game this season, he posted a 15 save shutout vs. Gdansk. Honorable Mention: Patryk Kusak

Zaglebie Sosnowiec – Marcel Kotuła. Sosnowiec is another team packed with a lot of young talent, but most of their young talent are seasoned veterans of the PHL. As mentioned in Lipinski’s paragraph, young goalies don’t get those chances in the PHL. This season Marcel Kotuła will compete with 24-year-old Michal Czernik for reps. Last year Kotuła led all goalies in save percentage for the Polish first league. So far through four games between the PHL and Polish first league, he has a .917 SV% along with one shutout. Honorable Mention: Szymon Luszniak