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Polish Ice Hockey


delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
29 Nov 2020 #1
It just occurred to me: despite being a big hockey fan, I've never actually seen a game in Poland, nor do I know much about the domestic leagues here. Looking around, it seems that the majority of teams are based in/around Silesia and Małopolska, but that the game is really lacking in presence in other cities.

Does anyone know more about the domestic leagues? For instance, it seems that most teams in the I Liga are the B teams belonging to the bigger teams - there's no real presence from most cities, and even Warsaw doesn't appear to have a team in the top two leagues. When you compare the Polish leagues to the neighbouring countries, they're incredibly weak - even the Slovak league appears to be stronger.

I'd be interested in knowing more about the history of the sport in Poland, why it's not taken seriously here (despite the national team being reasonably solid) and so on.

(side note: one of the very first jobs I had was in trying to set up a hockey team in my hometown - went nowhere, but it was a fun few months)
OP delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
29 Nov 2020 #2
(sorry for the double post mods)

I've been thinking more, and one thing that really surprises me here is just how poorly the whole product is presented. I've just watched a game from the top league ( youtube.com/watch?v=L_pMBD4z0Ds ) and it's such poor presentation - the commentator sucks, the ice logos are barely visible, and the standard of play itself is really, really poor.

To compare: this is the presentation of two of the strongest teams in the Czech Extraliga: youtube.com/watch?v=gIrlPgaAMfY

While I appreciate that the sport isn't so popular here, it really seems as if hockey in Poland is run for the benefit of a few moustaches and not for people. From what I can see, most teams are relying heavily on municipal funding, so it's the same problem as other sports, yet the presentation just seems so poor in comparison. Even the UK EIHL presentation is superior, and that's a really poor league.
JacekthePole 1 | 43
30 Nov 2020 #3
Polish ice hockey is lame, about the only time worth going is when the winner of league plays in European champions hockey league.

Best to cross border and go watch any of the eastern czech teams. Generally nice stadiums, decent crowds and great hockey standard.
OP delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
30 Nov 2020 #4
Best to cross border and go watch any of the eastern czech teams.

Yep, I support Oceláři Třinec. They've got plenty of Polish supporters from both Zaolzie and Poland, and the atmosphere is second to none.
mafketis 24 | 8,889
30 Nov 2020 #5
despite being a big hockey fan, I've never actually seen a game in Poland

A couple of things... Poland's never been that big on winter sports (definitely more of a summer olympic type of place) and Polish fans are usually more into sports when there are successful Polish competitors (like sky jumping - Adam Małysz more or less made that popular even though it's a winter sport).

Also.... hockey is more expensive to train (ice rinks and ice time aren't cheap) so it's at a disadvantage with other sports...

Back in the PRL Poland was sort of the weak man out in athletics compared to other Warsaw Pact countries... I often wonder how much the church (as an outlet for societal unhappiness) contributed to that. Certainly party bosses were a tad more.... constrained in what they could spend money on (while East Germans or Romanians who weren't happy about vast sums poured into sports, or anything else, had no real outlet).
JacekthePole 1 | 43
30 Nov 2020 #6
@delphiandomine
Yes me too mate. Really enjoy it and standard is mega. Plus arena is very nice.
cms neuf - | 1,579
30 Nov 2020 #7
Not really a hockey fan but have been to a few games in Czech and enjoyed it. In Poland it's never crossed my mind to go :(

Not sure if you have seen but there have been a couple of outdoor matches at Dynamo Dresden - 2 Czech teams and 2 German teams and it looked good fun - stadium was full and I'm sure a few adult beverages consumed
Joker 2 | 1,289
1 Dec 2020 #8
Not really a hockey fan but have been to a few games

Its just like Golf, fun to play but boring to watch. I used to go to Chicago Blackhawk games with a bunch of guys and drink lots of beer, that was fun:)

Also.... hockey is more expensive to train (ice rinks and ice time aren't cheap) so it's at a disadvantage with other sports

It will cost you a small fortune to buy all the equipment for your kid, better hope he doesnt want to be a goalie! lol

Does anyone know more about the domestic leagues?

How is Polands olympic team?
JacekthePole 1 | 43
1 Dec 2020 #9
@Joker
Disagree, Ice hockey is really fast sport with huge tactical element to game. Also Golf I always thought the same, however I was lucky enough to be invited to the golf open in Carnoustie, Scotland. The one where harrington beat garcia in the playoff. Must admit that was where i realised i was wrong.

Yes you are right though on the kit, it's really expensive, Helmet, shoulder pads, padded shorts, elbow pads, gloves, leg guards, skates not to mention the stick. If you play at a decent level a pair of gloves alone won't get you much change out of $200.
johnny reb 28 | 4,574
1 Dec 2020 #10
Remember the Miracle on Ice back in 1980 ?
In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Professional Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York.

There have been some outstanding Polish hockey players in the NHL here in the U.S.A.

Disagree, Ice hockey is really fast sport

Not only very fast sport but also a very physical sport.
The good hockey players are all missing front teeth.
OP delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
1 Dec 2020 #11
How is Polands olympic team?

They were a solid top 20 team that always just missed out on promotion to the top division in the World Championships, but they've lost their way recently. The national team was always much stronger than domestic teams, though.

outstanding Polish hockey players in the NHL here

Not really. Czerkawski was the only Polish player of note, and only four Polish players have ever played in the NHL.
Paulina 10 | 1,624
1 Dec 2020 #12
I think mafketis is right...
Also, I suspect it's the same as with figure skating - it's gravely underfunded, both are difficult sports, expensive and the eternal problem in Poland - very few ice rinks, especially good quality ones...

You can read an article about it here, I imagine pretty much the same thing can be said about ice hockey in Poland:

przegladsportowy.pl/sporty-zimowe/lyzwiarstwo/lyzwiarstwo-figurowe-w-polsce-umiera-przez-brak-pieniedzy/dm3g66q
johnny reb 28 | 4,574
2 Dec 2020 #13
and only four Polish players have ever played in the NHL.

polishpuck.com/players-with-polish-hertiage/

I counted six in the NHL with many more playing professionally in other leagues.
PolAmKrakow 1 | 595
3 Dec 2020 #14
Actually only 2 Polish born players in the NHL in the modern era. 4 in total. Polish heritage players are large in number. In general though, the PHL is about equal to the ECHL in the USA for most teams, top teams are closer to AHL caliber. Not a single NHL prospect in the country though.
OP delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
3 Dec 2020 #15
In general though, the PHL is about equal to the ECHL in the USA for most teams, top teams are closer to AHL caliber.

I do wonder if there's not a future for the PHL to be recruiting players from North America with free university tuition thrown in. The cost would be minimal for teams, and there must be plenty of reasonable hockey players out there who aren't good enough to get drafted/get a NCAA scholarship, yet they could easily be solid 2nd/3rd line players.
PolAmKrakow 1 | 595
3 Dec 2020 #16
@delphiandomine
The PZHL is a disorganized mess. The PHL is operated like a kabab stand. The Federation refuses to join the 21st century because it would eliminate the social welfare provided by the Ministry.

The Polish federation has no clue how to operate professionally, and no player with half a brain would go to Poland to play for those in charge. The only way North Americans are coming to Poland is if real professionals are operating, and in Polish hockey there are a total of five professionally run operations, none of them are at the league or federation level, and two of the five are teams owned privately and not funded by any city tax money.

The best Polish athletes, regardless of sport, leave Poland to play anywhere else. Lewandowski for example. Poland simply refuses to grasp anything of a professional nature in any discipline. Frankly it is sad, and until the people milking the system are removed, nothing will change.
OP delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
5 Dec 2020 #17
eliminate the social welfare provided by the Ministry.

Common story in other sports too. Those people aren't interested in developing a good product, they only care about getting their money from the Ministry.

It's a shame, because hockey would be a great product for Polish cities. There's plenty of places like Lublin and Szczecin where a well presented product could attract crowds, but... Why put effort into attracting new franchises if you can do nothing instead?

I wouldn't expect Poland to be on the level of the Czech Extraliga or DEL, but surely it should be possible to get the PHL to reach a standard comparable to the UK EIHL.


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