In the previous article about the PHL – Polska Hokej Liga – we had a look at the 2018-19 season with results, videos and insights. Right now instead, let’s have a chat with someone who knows the PHL and can help us understand what really happened.
We had the pleasure to talk to Benjamin Krzywicki, founder of “Polish Puck”. We asked him few questions to get to know more about the 2018-19 PHL.
What can you tell us about GKS Tychy, the 2018-19 PHL Champions?
GKS Tychy is easily the best club in Poland right now. They now have back to back championships along with 6 straight final appearances (3 championships during that span.) GKS Tychy represented Poland in the Champions Hockey League and got the first ever win by a Polish team in CHL by taking down HC Bolzano (EBEL) 5:3. There is also currently talk that GKS Tychy may leave Poland for a stronger league next season. The team is lead in net by goaltender John Murray. Murray is easily the best goalie in Poland. He now represents Poland internationally, after acquiring Polish citizenship. Its hard to pin down an offensive leader for the squad. They have so much good offensive talent with imports Andrei Mikhnov. Tomas Sykora, Gleb Klimenko, and Mike Cichy (Cichy also represents Poland internationally now), along with talented Polish players like Filip Komorski, Jaroslaw Rzeszutko, and Jakub Witecki. Add in young guns like Bartlomiej Jeziorski and Mateusz Goscinski and you have one of the most lethal offensives in all of lower tier european hockey. The defense is also really strong and features 6 members of Poland’s national team. There is no weakness to them.
Which team was the surprise of the season?
The most surprising team this year was KS Torun. Torun just got promoted to the top league this year after being relegated in 2016-17. The team had struggled for a while, but this season posted their most wins in the PHL since 2007-2008. This is thanks to their top trio of Russians. Daniil Orekhin, Semyon Garshin, and Robert Korchokha were one of the most lethal lines in the PHL. The trio had a total of 138 points. Torun finished in 6th place and gave Cracovia Krakow a run for the 5th spot for most of the season. Unfortunately, it looks the tio is moving to a new PHL team next year.
Can you tell us, in your opinion, who were the three stars of the season
This year 3 stars would be (in order) Patyrk Wronka, Ondrej Raszka, Mateusz Bepierszcz.
Wronka is easily the best Polish hockey player right now and led the PHL in scoring. He was a big of GKS Katowice this year and would be my MVP.
Razska was tasked with being in between the pipes for a very young JKH GKS Jastrzebie team. Their average age was 24.51 this is the youngest by any PHL team (Not counting the two teams that went folded midseason). Razska finished in a 3-way tie for 1st in sv% with .939 and he had the most games played for any goalie at 42, which is every single game.
Bepierszcz was new to Cracovia Krakow, after playing with GKS Tychy last year. He was a leader on a team that faced a lot of doubt and struggles. Bepierszcz set a new career high in points with 45, which was good for 10th in the league and third on his team. He also was a huge part of Cracovia making to the finals with 10 points in 16 playoff games.
Which team has the largest fan-base?
The largest fan base belongs to KH Torun, MH Automatyka Gdansk, or GKS Tychy. They were top 3 in attendance with Torun having an almost 200 spectator lead at 1,349 followed by Gdansk at 1,078 and Tychy at 1,040. Gdansk has pulled in some really impressive crowds. Given their passion I would probably give it to Gdansk
Can you tell me some trivia about the PHL 2018-19 season?
An interesting trivia about the PHL this year would be the first win of PZHL U23. The team had played in the PHL in some fashion since 2015-16. The team is made up of polish players under 20 until this year when they switched to a U23 team, though still mostly made up of U20 players. The team won their one game in their first season and wouldn’t win another til this season. A losing streak of 108 games. They actually won two games this year defeating Zaglebie Sosnowiec 5-2 for their first win and Polonia Bytom 5-3 for their 2nd.
Tank you very much, Benjamin!
If you want to know more, especially about the Polish National team and young Polish talents in North America, we warmly invite you to follow Benjamin’s blog https://polishicehockey.wordpress.com/ and to follow his twitter account.
“Na razie”, guys!