Hockey: Poland earns promotion to World’s Division 1A

Arkadiusz Kostek and Alan Łyszczarczyk’s goals gave the Poles a 2:0 victory over Japan in the match for promotion to Division 1A of the Hockey World Championship. The Polish team returns to the second tier of the international hockey competition after a five-year break.

Before the last meeting of the Division 1B tournament played in Tychy, southern Poland, the matter was clear: with a win against Japan, Poland would return to the A1 Division.

The match

The first period produced no goals. Arkadiusz Kostek was the one to change the tides and give the Polish team its first goal against the Japanese. The Pole got to the rebounded puck after Mateusz Bryk's shot and beat Japanese goalkeeper, Yuta Narisawa.

Polish hockey players with the lead survived to the end of the second period. They were therefore only 20 minutes away from advancing to Division 1A. “It’s a tough meeting, so we have to stay focused. The goal allowed us to breathe and was a positive stimulus in our game,” Mr Kostek told TVP Sport during the break before the decisive period.

One and a half minutes before the end of the match, Alan Łyszczarczyk put the last nail in the coffin, scoring a goal and sealing the fate of the match.

I’m so happy!

“I was worried before this game,” admitted head coach Robert Kalaber. “When we played exhibition games with Japan, they were very strong. I expected them to be our closest rivals here.”

"But I want to talk about our heroes. The way we sacrificed ourselves on defence. The way we stayed solid and organised. That was the key to this victory,” he added.

In turn, Polish hockey team player, Aron Chmielewski, emphasised that “the national team had to wait four years for this because of COVID-19. I’m so happy to be here and to be a part of it,” he stated.