There are 3 certainties in life; death, taxes, and Polonia Bytom winning the PLHK championship. Another season has wrapped up with Bytom on top of Poland’s highest league. Despite another championship season, it does feel like the league is becoming more and more competitive. Stoczniowiec Gdansk was the top club this year by goal differential and matched Bytom’s regular season. The rest of the league also had some big surprises that I’m excited to break down. Today we’re looking at the most valuable player of each PLHK team for the 2023 season.
Polonia Bytom: Karolina Późniewska (F)
The icon, the legend, or the greatest of all time continues to be among the best in the PLHK. Karolina Późniewska posted 33 points (16G-17A-33PTS) in 9 regular season games, and this was good for second in scoring among all skaters. She turned it up to another level in the playoffs with an outstanding seven goals and six assists in just four games. It is not a surprise that Bytom would finish as the best again with production like that on their side. As long as Późniewska plays, it is almost guaranteed she will be the MVP of her team.
Runner-up: Ida Talanda (F)
Stoczniowiec Gdansk: Magdalena Łąpieś (F)
From one of the all-time greats to someone with the potential to be one, Magdalena Łąpieś takes the MVP award for Gdansk. I wasn’t sure how the club would perform this year, as losing star forward Tatiana Onyshchenko was a significant blow. Already an offensive leader for the team, Łąpieś stepped up and became the squad’s leading producer. She finished the season with 33 points (18G-15A-33PTS) in 18 games. Nine of her points came in the PLHK playoffs to help Gdansk reach the finals again. Her 24 points in the regular season saw her finish as the fourth-best scorer in the league and on top of Gdansk.
Runner-up: Dominika Korkuz (D)
Atomowki Tychy: Sylwia Łaskawska (F)
Tychy made it back to the bronze medal game, and a significant part of that was Sylwia Łaskawska. The talented forward was the offensive leader of Tychy this year with 31 points (18G-13A-31PTS) in 19 games. Tychy had a long playoff route, with Łaskawska leading the way with nine of her points on the year coming at the vital time. This was a lot harder to pick as, offensively, Łaskawska just edged out Aleksandra Gorska, while the club also got some great performances in net from both of their netminders. Gorksa’s five goals in the bronze medal series almost clinched her it, but I feel Łaskawska was the stronger player consistently throughout the year.
Runner-up: Aleksandra Gorska (F)
Naprzod Janow: Malgorzata Zakrzewska (F)
This is a player the rest of the hockey world will know soon. Malgorzata Zakrzewska looks to be the next Polish hockey star, and she only turned 13 years old in late January of this hockey season. Remember how young she is when I tell you she led the PLHK regular season in scoring by seven points. Just a ridiculous year, and it won’t be long until top clubs abroad are lining up. In the 2022-23 season, she finished with 43 points (30G-13A-43PTS) in 13 games. She only appeared in one postseason match this year but made sure to make it count with two goals and an assist. If Zakrzewska stays in Janow for long, we could have a new team that threatens the top of the PLHK.
Runner-up: Joanna Orawska (F)
Podhale Nowy Targ: Natalia Nosal (D)
Nosal is our only defenseman to take the MVP award for her team his year. Podhale finished middle of the pack again this year, but they did tighten up defensively. Their goals-against average per game was almost cut in half. A significant contributor to that was star defenseman Natalia Nosal. The young defender led the team in points for a second straight season. This year she scored seven goals and assisted on one in 11 games. This was seventh among all PLHK defensemen. Her ability to rush the puck was critical to zone breakdowns and generating scoring chances.
Runner-up: Zuzanna Furtak (G)
Unia Oswiecim: Kamila Wieczorek (F)
This was a hard one to pick. Unia Oswiecim finished as part of the three-way tie for fourth place, and they were right in the middle regarding goal differential. In the playoffs, they upset Tychy for the bronze medal. A big reason for this was the late addition of Kamila Wieczorek. The Polish star only played in 2 regular season games before leading the team in the playoffs with 12 points (8G-4A-12PTS) in seven games. She also scored in each match in the bronze medal series. Joanna Strzelecka was the team leader throughout the year, with 12 goals and 10 assists in 15 games across the regular season and playoffs.
Runner-up: Joanna Strzelecka (F)
KS Cracovia 1906: Magdalena Olszewska (F)
It was an ugly year for Cracovia, as the team went winless in 12 games and scored just nine goals. Our MVP goes to Olszewska, who finished with six assists in nine regular season games. Her six points led Cracovia in points for the year and were three more than any other player. Notching six assists also means she was involved in two-thirds of the team’s regular season goals.
Runner-up: Karolina Baran (F)
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