Two years ago, in June 2020, Robert Calabre became the coach of the Polish national team.
– It was a difficult period because the pandemic thwarted plans and in 2020 and 2021 the world championships were not held. Despite these circumstances, the Polish Ice Hockey League organized international team tests. The Three Seas Cup, which was held at the Guntur ice rink in Katowice, as well as the “Beat Covid” tournament in Slovenia, were very important to us. Thanks to this, we were well prepared to qualify for the Olympics and in Bratislava we defeated strong Belarus. Before the IB Divisional World Championships in Teshi, I heard voices saying that it would be a fun and easy tournament for us, but I knew we were going to have a tough time, especially with Japan. In friendlies, the Asian hockey team has shown very well in confrontations with the two top-ranked teams, Slovenia and Romania. However, we beat Japan in a straight fight for promotion to the IA Division – the Slovak coach summed up this period.
What matches does Calaber consider the best for the Polish national team? – In qualifying for the Olympics against Belarus, we played well in defense, we won 1-0 with a very strong opponent, with great hockey players from the KHL. The second match of this kind was Teshi’s showdown in the IB Division World Championships with the Japanese, who showed themselves to be well-trained and play hockey in a dynamic and well-organized manner. We stopped them. My students showed character and discipline. I have team leaders and that makes me very happy. In addition, in the confrontation with Japan, we played without very important players, such as Grzegorz Pasiut and Patryk Wronka – confirms Calabre.
More challenges await the Clapper boss. Next year, Piao Zeroni will compete in the IA Division World Championships. From April 29 to May 5 in Nottingham, Great Britain, Italy, South Korea, Lithuania and Romania will be their rivals. In every match, the team will fight to win. The goal is to maintain, but people who know me know I’m not a moderator. The team will be well prepared. If our leaders are healthy, we are lucky, and we have a chance to join the competition to be promoted to the elite – says the Mukhtar.
World Cup preparations
In November, the Polish national team will participate in the tournament in Lithuania. – We will go to Lithuania, where we will play with the hosts, Estonia and Latvia B. I plan to take the young players there. An international tournament is likely to take place in December at the new ice rink in Sosnowiec. Our competitors will soon be known. The most important test before the World Cup will take place in Sheffield in February, where we will face strong teams, Great Britain, Japan and the fourth team, which has not yet been confirmed by the hosts. There we will play in the strongest squad. Before the tournament, we have a three-week training camp and matches with demanding opponents. Control matches are played – the coach of the first national team adds.
Polish Ice Hockey League
Photos: PZHL Archive
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