Once again Polonia Bytom are the champions of Poland’s top women’s league. This marks the seventh straight championship season for Polonia. In the best of three series, they defeated repeat finalist Stoczniowca Gdańsk in just two games.
In the first game of the finals, Polonia Bytom showed why they’re the most dominant team in Polish hockey history with a 5-2 victory. In game two, Gdańsk left it all out on the ice. The first half of the game was filled with action both teams scoring twice. The final 30 minutes of the game would remain score-less though. With the title on the line the two teams went into overtime, where Ida Talanda scored the golden goal to give Polonia Bytom the win.
Prior to knocking off Gdańsk, Polonia Bytom easily marched through the playoffs. In round one, they defeated UKH Biale Jastrzebie in two games, outscoring them 46-2. In the second round, they matched up with PTH Kozice Poznan. While Ponzan put up a better fight, they still were swept in two games, only managing one goal to Polonia’s 17.
The championship result was the expected outcome for the red and blue. Polonia Bytom went 16-0 in the regular season. Not only were they undefeated, but they scored 211 goals while only allowing 12. Their goal differential of +199, was 54 more than second-place Stoczniowca Gdańsk. Bytom was once again led by Polish legend Karolina Późniewska. Późniewska recorded a lead leaguing 116 points (58G-58A-116PTS) in just 16 games. Olivia Tomczok (62 points), Wiktoria Dziwok (44 points), Ida Talanda (41 points), and Klaudia Chrapek (40 points), also all cracked the PLHK’s regular-season top ten in scoring.
As a result of the invasion of Ukraine, the hockey world continues to lay down more and more sanctions against Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams. Earlier today it was announced by Ukrainian agent Dan Milstein of Gold Star Hockey, that the CHL would be banning the drafting of players from Belarus and Russia during the 2022 Import Draft. We now have our first case in Poland, as Polonia Bytom released five Russian players.
Goaltender Danil Babets, defensemen Kirill Kleimyonov and Yegor Rudskoy, along with forwards Ilya Smirnov and Valeri Polinin have all been released by the club. Valeri Polinin was third on the team in points. Smironov had made a quick impact with 13 points in 13 games. Danil Babets had been serving as one of the club’s backup goaltenders. With the help of their Russian five, Polonia Bytom finished with the best record in the MHL, but will now be without all five players for the playoffs.
Bytom official Mariusz Wołosz, reached out to Hokej.net adding, “Players were offered to stay in the club if they criticized and condemned Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. Everyone refused. Therefore, we decided to say goodbye to them.” The team will not be releasing Belarusian brothers Artur Senkevich and Artyom Senkevich, who have grandparents from Poland and are working on acquiring Polish citizenship.
The Polish Hockey Player Association did release a statement. In summary, they support the suspension of Russian and Belarusian national teams, but we should not be blaming or suspending the players from both countries that play in Poland.