To new heights
To new heights
Chmielewski has big plans
“We had good games,” said Aron Chmielewski about the first two wins and praised the improvement Estonia and Lithuania have had in the last few years. “We have respect from all teams but we know Hungary is the best opponent here. We have to look what was not good in our game and improve.”
The 24-year-old forward from Gdansk is among the leader on his team, scored two goals and had four points in the first two games.
He played five years of professional hockey in the Polish league after junior years with Stoczniowiec Gdansk and the Hannover Indians in Germany but did the step to the Czech Republic in 2014 when the tall winger got a multi-year contract with Ocelari Trinec after a 73-point season with Cracovia Krakow, the club he played for three years after his hometown club from northern Poland had withdrawn its team from the top league.
He’s not a core player in Trinec yet and had loan spells in each of his two seasons but he played 33 games (4 goals, 4 assists) in the Czech Extraliga and seven games in the Champions Hockey League for the team that sits in ninth place in the 14-team Extraliga. That makes him the player on the Polish national team who played at the highest level this season.
Among his teammates in Trinec are players with national team experience such as Zbynek Irgl or Slovaks Vladimir Dravecky and Tomas Kopecky, who came in October from the Florida Panthers.
Currently Chmielewski is on a loan spell with third-tier team HC Frydek-Mistek where he scored 22 goals and had 39 points in 25 games this season.
“The Czech Extraliga is so good. For my career it was very helpful to be there and I have to play more and more there, this will be good for me,” Chmielewski said.
“I improved as a player in the Czech Republic, I can feel that. The game is so much faster there compared to Poland and there are guys who played in the NHL and KHL.”
Making the Final Olympic Qualification is tonight’s goal for Chmielewski and his teammate while in April his third World Championship Division I participation is waiting. Again Poland will play on home ice, this time in Katowice. Austria, Slovenia, Japan, Italy and Korea will be the opponents in the battle for promotion to the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Germany and France.
“Austria and Slovenia are very hard teams for us but we want to win this tournament,” he said.
“We play on home ice for the second time. Last time Hungary won against us but this time we want to play better and win this.”
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