During the recently concluded Sport Business Tourism Conference, the Polish University Hockey Association (PUHA) presented ambitious plans to accelerate the development of university hockey in Poland. Meetings with key figures such as the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, Minister of Sport Kamil Bortniczuk, and the President of the Polish Olympic Committee Radosław Piesiewicz were a key factor of this event.
A historical moment
The PUHA Management Board not only held fruitful talks with representatives of state authorities, but also with representatives of local government authorities – the Voivodship Marshal, Witold Kozłowski, and his deputy – the Vice-Marshal, Iwona Gibas, and with many activists and representatives of the hockey community in Poland. This strategic move was aimed at gaining support for the development of college hockey and opening new opportunities for young talents. Together with the Polish Ice Hockey Association (PZHL), with the support of the Polish Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sport, PUHA announced a revolutionary plan to create four academic hockey centers in Poland. This initiative is inspired by the success of the first Polish university team UHT SABERS and aims to raise the level of this sport at the academic level. Benefits for the players: ✓ dual sports and academic career ✓ Individual Curriculum Plan ✓ Attractive academic and sports scholarships ✓ Participation in the European University Hockey League ✓ Participation in the Polish First League
During the three intensive conference days, the board was supported by Jarosław Straka, President of the European Academic Hockey Association (EUHA). His presence additionally emphasised the international nature of the development plans for university hockey in Poland. The next important step in the implementation of ambitious plans is the upcoming visit of Paul Hebert, president of the North American Academic Hockey Federation (ACHA) from the United States, which will take place in Poland on the 8th – 10th October. His presence in Poland is of key importance because the purpose of the visit is to check the possibilities of organizing the WCOUH – World Cup of University Hockey in 2025 in Lesser Poland, with a particular emphasis on two cities: Oświęcim and Nowy Targ.
Synergy of sport and education
Paul Herbert’s visit will also include an assessment of conditions at universities, dormitories, and ice rinks. It is hoped that these locations will become a future home for international students interested in joining the UHT SABERS team. A key aspect of the visit is also a meeting with the authorities of the Cpt. Witold Pilecki’s State University of Małopolska in Oświęcim. (MUP) and representatives of the Oświęcim City Hall (UM) to check the living and learning conditions for foreign players with Polish roots. PUHA’s ambitious plans, in cooperation with international partners such as Paul Hebert, give hope for the dynamic development of university hockey in Poland. The creation of four new hockey centers and the organisation of one of the largest hockey events in the world are a big step towards strengthening Poland as an important player in world university hockey. This intense period of work and planning may pay off – not only in the sports field but – also by building international relations and promoting Poland as an attractive place for international hockey talents.