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The Plan To Fix Polish Hockey And Return To The Olympics By 2030

Poland just finished getting their asses kicked in Olympic qualifying. If not for naturalized Goaltender John Murray Poland would not have won a game and wouldn’t have even been competitive. A blind man can see Poland is no where near Olympic levels and it has no one to blame but themselves.

The Polish Hockey League (professional) wants to reduce the number of foreign players in the league over the next three seasons.

The Vice President of the Poland Federation just publicly stated the country needs better competition through foreign players and foreign competition.

The press are applauding that fact that foreign scouts were watching Polish players and hope they get a chance at higher level leagues outside of Poland.

Does anyone else see how each of these positions contradicts the other?

When you eliminate the better import players, you eliminate the better competition. When the better Polish players leave for higher level leagues, you get even lower competition in your own league. When the Vice President says you need better competition, none of the first two actions brings anything but a lowering of the quality of play.

If the best Polish and the best import players leave, you are left with a bad product that no one wants to buy. You are left with a player development sink hole and the players become worse because they are not playing against better talent. This is a fact.

Polish development for Polish born players is at a historic all time low and they have no plan to fix it because no one is on the same page.

So, here is the simplified version of what I am suggesting be initiated immediately.

  1. Create a completely amateur development league out of 1st league and MHL teams
  2. Keep all leagues unlimited for import players forcing Poles to play harder and train harder to become better
  3. Implement coaching standards
  4. Implement a development model similar to the American Development Model and admit you need help
  5. Stop spending money on pro players and tournaments that do not benefit the development of the young players
  6. Invest money into youth training with more practices and more games
  7. When National teams are training, games must continue for all other players
  8. Reward teams who actually successfully develop players
  9. Allow fighting in the PHL to create a product that people will pay to watch. MMA and KSW are raking in millions because that is what fans want. Deliver what fans want and they will pay for it. TV rights will actually become valuable instead of an afterthought.
  10. Implement a hard salary cap in the PHL so that more money is spent on developing young players. This forces the best Polish players to be spread out throughout the entire PHL and makes every team better.

File bankruptcy for the PZHL and start over. Eliminating 18 million in debt and two years out of the IIHF will allow the federation and all of its clubs to save money and put that money toward developing Polish youth players.

After two years, rejoin the IIHF and climb the qualification ladder back to Olympic qualifying rounds.

By 2030, Poland would be back in the Olympics with hockey if this plan is followed.

Nine years. Nine years is a short period of time in hockey development. There is a lot of good young talent in Poland that if focused on can lift the country back to the ranks of hockey respectability.

Strict rules must be put in place and if done, home grown talent will want to stay home and more players will develop. Why would anyone use anything less than the most proven development models in Canada and the United States that have been proven time and again to work?

It is time for hockey people to develop hockey players and for politicians and idea men with no follow through to be put aside.

Joseph Kolodziej

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