The most casual elements of Northern Ireland’s hockey fandom could have been forgiven for thinking that GKS Katowice were EIHL newcomers in 2018/19, such was the regularity of their appearances at the SSE Arena.
The Polish outfit, coached by enigmatic Canadian Tom Coolen played out some ferocious battles against Adam Keefe’s men in Continental Cup action, with more than a few players making an impression on the home crowd.
Like Goaltender Kevin Lindskoug- a highlight reel on skates.
And centreman Jesse Rohlta- an endless headache for Giants D men…
But perhaps none moreso than one Patryk Wronka.
The 5 foot 7 and fresh faced 23 year old native from Zakopane in Poland is a dynamic centreman/winger with speed to burn.
More or less destined to lace a pair of skates from the moment he was born (Wronka’s father and late grandfather have both represented Poland internationally), it is no surprise that he has been playing for his country since U18 level.
Most recently, Wronka was good for 2 goals and 3 assists in Poland’s 2019 IIHF World Championships campaign, earning himself the Forward of the Tournament accolade.
Domestically, last season Wronka posted 21 goals and 36 assists in 47 games played- earning him huge favour with the passionate and vocal GKS fan base.
According to Giants Head Coach Adam Keefe, Wronka is a player who has been on both his and Steve Thornton’s radar for some time:
“Patryk is someone who we tracked ever since we faced him in the Continental Cup Semi-Final back in November.
“He is young and competes hard every night.
“He is a great skater and very skilled – I know Giants fans are going to enjoy watching Patryk in action this season.”
Words: Joel Neill
Audio: Simon Kitchen / Daniel Sykora / Davy McGimpsey / AVFTB
Images: William Cherry / PressEye / Matt Harvey