Opole HK is the first Play Safe Stay Safe program designed for players during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is based in Opole Poland, in a controlled housing, training, and competitive environment, playing in Poland’s top junior league.
It is the first program of its kind based in Europe, designed on North American training practices.
So why would players want to go all the way to Poland to play this season? We asked Goaltender Colin Norrish a few questions;
What was the most important thing in your mind when you decided to commit to playing for Opole HK this season?
When searching for a place to play this season I needed to find a team that the COVID-19 outbreak would have the least affect on its return to play procedure. Opole became a no brainer as their facilities were best suited to be used during the pandemic with everything a player would need being all under one roof.
Other than the competition in Poland’s highest junior league what are you looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to the experience that will come with being an athlete playing abroad, getting to experience all the different cultures of each country and getting to do it all with a great group of guys.
Gaining international experience can be valuable when scouts look at players. Did that factor into your decision to play for Opole HK?
For sure. Playing professional hockey has always been a dream of mine, along with many hockey players coming from Canada. Playing overseas opens the door to so many new possibilities for both me and my teammates future, that we may have never gotten if we chose to stay in Canada.
What are your long term goals with hockey and how does playing for Opole HK help you reach those goals?
My main goal with hockey has been the same since my days playing youth hockey in south Edmonton; become a pro someday. Opole HK offers so much in the way of the development of its players with its state of the art facilities and daily ice sessions, along with the exposure that comes with playing away from home.
Traveling and playing in Europe really is a once in a life time experience for most players. If there is one place you can visit in Europe while you are there, where would it be?
With so much rich history, and landmarks to see in Europe it really is hard to just pick one. Through grades one to nine all of my classes were in French so I’d really like to visit France and see everything I’ve learned about in person. However I think the place I’d like to visit most of all would be Italy, to see the coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and visit some old friends from last season of hockey in Banff.