Lacrosse in Poland, like many programs in Europe, first started rearing its head in the second half of the 2000’s. Poland saw its first teams in the Poznan Hussars and Kosynierzy Wrocław. The Hussars were founded by Błażej Piotrowski who saw glimpses of the game while on holiday in the USA, and Kosynierzy Wrocław was founded by Tomasz Kędzia, who brought the game back to his city after an internship in the Czech Republic.
All Photo Credits: Dawid Szymczak
The big question was: Where would Lacrosse in Poland go from here? The answer came in the form of an exchange with European Lacrosse Federation President Peter Mundy, who pledged his assistance to the fledgling programs. With his help, the first two lacrosse teams were officially registered with the ELF, and Polish lacrosse was alive and kicking.
Lacrosse in Poland: A Brief History
The first official game on Polish soil was played in 2008, ending in a 5:5 tie, and the stage was set for bigger things, including the formation of the Polish Lacrosse Federation.
In 2010, Poland became the best debuting country at the World Championships in Manchester, taking 14th place and ranking just behind the Czech Republic. In 2014, the team travelled to Denver, for another World Championship appearance, but placed 20th, after a disappointing triple OT loss against Italy put them up against Eastern powerhouse Latvia, who outplayed the Poles 17-7 in the 13th place game.
Lacrosse in Poland: Looking Forward
The European Championships await the Polish National Men’s Team in 2016. Currently, there are 10 established men’s programs in Poland, with a lot more sticks kicking about throughout the country, and with interest in the sport growing quickly.
The Poles also engage in boxla, with the Polish Eagles travel team participating in tournaments around Europe, like the famous Ales Hrebesky Memorial tournament in Radotin, Czech Republic. There’s even talk of starting up a Polish box lacrosse national team.
“The Prettier Side of Lacrosse”
The first women’s team was founded in March of 2009, and just like one of the first men’s teams, it was founded in the city of Wroclaw. Before the year was over, Sztorm Warszawa joined Wroclaw, and the first official game was played six months later, ending in a 3:3 tie. Fast forward till 2015, and there are now five women’s programs playing lacrosse in Poland.
The first steps to a national team were made at the end of 2013, when the first ever Polish National Women’s Team scrimmaged Israel on the 29th of December in two games, which ended with two victories for Israel.
2015 witnessed the biggest push so far. The PFL, thanks to the efforts of Przemyslaw Tabor, Iga Sobolewska and Beata Juchniewicz, secured government funding for the national program (thanks Ministerstwo Sportu i Turystyki) and plans went into high gear. All of a sudden, the 2017 World Championships and The World Games 2017 were a very real possibility.
Following a summer training weekend, Team Poland travelled to Denmark to take part in the Copenhagen Lax Cup, where they played teams from Norway, England and Germany (the latter are women’s lacrosse powerhouses). The Polish women walked away winless, but the hunger for a W was there.
After two more open training weekends, 35 players were selected (from well over 70 players) to attend an elite training camp in Warsaw at the beginning of December, showcasing whether they have what it takes to make the national team that will be travelling to the New Year’s Cup in Budapest, Hungary.
We’re going into 2016 at full speed, so make sure to follow our national federation on Facebook, and follow the national men’s and women’s teams in their journey to their respective Championships!
For more on European Lacrosse, check out the History of Danish Lacrosse!