Frank Slubowski will be playing goal for Orlik Opole of the Polish Hockey League next year.

Prince Rupert hockey product Frank Slubowski signs in Poland

"If new goalkeeper Frank Slubowski can catch a fish, a small hockey puck should be no problem."

“If new goalkeeper Frank Slubowski can catch a fish, a small hockey puck should be no problem.”

That’s the translated cutline that accompanies a photo featuring a grinning Slubowski, a Prince Rupert goaltending product who suited up for the NCAA’s Western Michigan Broncos for the last four years, holding up a fish on Polish website

Last week, Slubowski signed a one-year contract with the Polska Hokej Liga’s (Polish Hockey League) Orlik Opole.

“They found me,” said the goalkeeper describing the process of signing in Poland.

“Poland’s trying to establish their national team and their league over there, so they’re trying to make it stronger. They’re recruiting guys, especially with Polish backgrounds.”

Slubowski, who had a career 2.34 GAA and .909 SV% with the Broncos playing Division I hockey, has admittedly never seen a Polska Hokej Lifa (PHL) game or been to Poland, but he’s eager to learn.

“I’m kind of nervous because it’s overseas, but I thought it was the best opportunity for me,” he said, adding his flight leaves next week.

According to Polish international hockey rules, if a player has a Polish background (as Slubowski does) and plays in Poland for two seasons, then that player can qualify for the Polish national team – a program that the country is prepared to invest in and grow.

“I looked at both options – staying in North America and over in Europe and I just figured with this national team opportunity and the opportunity to rise faster over in Europe rather than North America, I thought it was the best option,” he said.

Interestingly, Slubowski takes over for another North American goaltender who left Opole to play in Kazakhstan this season, John Murray. Murray played in North America’s Ontario Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and American Hockey League before making the jump to Europe.

According to PHL rules, starting this year a player with Polish roots must appear in goal for at least half of each team’s games during the season. Slubowski fits that bill pretty well and was a main target for Opole in the off-season.

Helping Slubowski learn the language after already playing a year in the PHL, Poland’s top hockey league, will be American Mike Cichy – a forward who played with Slubowski in the goalie’s first year at Western Michigan. Cichy was the third-leading goal scorer in the PHL last year, finding the net 29 times in 44 games.

“Just knowing someone and someone who can speak English will help a lot,” said Slubowski.

“[Learning the language and customs] will come in time. I heard it’s a different lifestyle … to learn about it will be pretty fun.”

The goaltender might even get more exposure than he bargained for, as Opole, Poland sits on the border of the hockey-crazed Czech Republic. Slovakia and Belarus are also nearby.

Just Posted

Identifying child care space needs in Prince Rupert

B.C. government is providing a $25,000 grant for more than 70 communities to help improve daycare

Prince Rupert U17s are 2019 Junior All Native Basketball Tournament champs

This year’s tournament held in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village

Police investigating after body found in Terrace

Discovery Friday afternoon near Olson Ave.

Grant Lawrence brings stories and songs to Rupert

Luke Wallace, Rachelle van Zanten will support April 13 event as musical guests

Taylor Northcott will help build Arizona State hockey

Prince Rupert hockey star was a Seawolf before moving south for sports school

Rupert’s greens ready for golf season

VIDEO: Prince Rupert Golf Club is open for 2019 with turf that weathered well over winter

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Story of Wet’suwet’en Chief Alfred Joseph being told

Song of the Earth on Chief Gisday’wa will be launched in Hagwilget

Houston woman gets two years for aggravated assault

Ewald pleads guilty; trial of co-accused Calvin Dyrland begins in Smithers B.C. court

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Most Read