Cracovia Krakow Wins Hockey Title
Jastrzębie-Zdrój — Cracovia Krakow won a convincing game seven here over GKS Jastrzebie 6-2 to take the 2013 Polish Hockey League title (Polska Liga Hokejowa). It was the tenth title for Cracovia and it didn’t come easy. GKS Jastrzebie had roared back with three straight victories to force the deciding and championship game at Jaster Arena.
Veteran goaltender Rafal Radziszewski came up big for the winners and Leszek Laszkiewicz had a hat trick in front of the overflow 3,000 plus crowd. For Laszkiewicz, the victory was his eighth title, of which five were with Cracovia Krakow. The 35-year-old Laszkiewicz finished the season as one of the league’s top scorer. In 38 games, he had 23 goals and 25 assists for 48 points.
A Cracovia goal by Michal Piotrowski with two minutes left turned out to be too much for Jastrzebie. The last two tallies for Cracovia were empty netters.
With exciting emphasis, Cracovia coach Rudolf Rohacek said post-game, “This 2013 championship should also be credited to our amazing fans. They were there for us when we needed them most and they were like having one or two extra men on the ice. There are no words to describe my appreciation for them.” He has now won five league championships in the last eight seasons with Cracovia Krakow.
After the hard fought victory, the Cracovia Krakow supporters went into a jubilant chant, “Hej, Heja, Heja, Cracovia Mistrzem Hokeja.”
This was the 11th Polish national championship for Cracovia defenseman Jaroslaw Klys, 35. He had been on seven title winners with Unia Oswiecim and his last four with Cracovia.
A big force for the champs all season was Patrick Valcak. In 38 games, Valcak had 15 goals and 41 assists for 56 points. Last season KH Sanok had taken the title from Cracovia.
GKS Jastrzebie coach Jiri Reznar praised his team, especially Richard Kral and Mateusz Danieluk. Reznar said, “We proved that we are a good team that is able to put up a good fight. In the final game we lacked experience and a bit of luck. If we hadn’t struck the goal frame three times in the first period it could’ve been a completely different game.”
Even after such a remarkable series comeback, Reznar’s contract was not extended after the championship. This was after he led his team to the 2013 Polish Cup championship (Puchar Polski) for the first time in their history. They defeated the reigning champions, Ciarko PBS Bank KH Sanok in that final.
Klys, Radziszewski and Laszkiewicz will join Cracovia Krakow teammate Patryk Noworyta on the Polish National Team at the Druzhba Ice Palace in Donetsk, Ukraine for the IIHF Division-I, Group B Tournament, April 14-20. This will be the 15th straight Polish National team for Laskiewicz.
By Raymond Rolak
2012-13 Polish Hockey League Champions: Cracovia Krakow
Goalies: Rafał Radziszewski, Mateusz Kulig, Sebastian Mrugała
Defenders: Nicolas Besch (France), Martin Dudas (Czech Republic), Jarosław Kłys, Adrian Kowalówka, Grzegorz Myjak, Patryk Noworyta, Łukasz Sznotala, Sebastian Witowski, Artur Zieliński.
Forwards: Aron Chmielewski, Tomasz Cieślicki, Petr Dvorak (Czech Republic), Josef Fojtik (Czech Republic), Grzegorz Horowski, Piotr Kmiecik, Robert Kostecki, Sebastian Kowalówka, Leszek Laszkiewicz, Daniel Laszkiewicz, Michał Piotrowski, Łukasz Rutkowski, Damian Słaboń, Patrik Valcak (Czech Republic), Piotr Ziętara (traded to Podhale Nowy Targ during season).
Head coach: Rudolf Rohacek (Czech Republic)
Assistant coach: Andrzej Pasiut.