The Poland national men's ice hockey team is the national ice hockey team of Poland, and a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. They are ranked 21st in the world in the IIHF World Rankings, but prior to the 1980s they were ranked as high as 6th internationally. They are one of only 8 countries never to have played below the Division I (former B Pool) level. Currently the Polish national team plays at the Division IB level, the third tier of the World Championship.
Financed by state coal money from the 1950s to the 1970 the Polish hockey team was a regular contender for medals in international tournaments, vastly superior to the Finns and upsetting the Swedes and Czechs from time to time. In 1976 Poland beat the dominant Soviet Union 6-4 in the World Championships after being soundly defeated by the same team 16-1 in the Winter Olympics. It was only the second time in 13 years that the Soviet Union had not won the gold.
In the olympics earlier that year, Poland played 5 matches in the top division, but lost all of them. In the first game, the team managed four goals on the West Germany but it was not enough as they lost 7-4. Four days later, after being destroyed by the Soviet Union, the Poles took on Czechoslovakia who dominated the whole game throughout and won 7-1, but after the drug testing, the officials found that one of the Czech players tested positive for doping and they awarded Poland with a 1-0 victory, although they didn't receive any points in the standings. With only two games left and no points in the standings, Poland had no shot at a medal, but still played the last two games against the USA and Finland, and lost 7-2 and 7-1 respectively.
Poland managed to clean up a bit over four years and played well during the 1980 Olympics and finished seventh out of twelve teams. They managed to pull off a huge upset in their first game by beating Finland 5-4, who would eventually advance to the medal round. In their next game, they played Canada and hoped to complete an even bigger upset. The Canadians didn't let this happen and beat the Poles 5-1. In the third game, Poland took on the five time Gold Medalists, The Soviet Union. The players knew that this would be a challenge because they had played the Soviets many times before and had lost by usually very lopsided scores, such as 8-3, 9-3, 16-1, and 20-0. The Polish team, however, had also beaten the Soviets once in the 1976 World Championship and some of the players from that game were still on the team. The team tried to keep the Russians down, but it was too much and the USSR stormed to an 8-1 win. With their toughest games out of the way, Poland would have one more chance to try and get to the Medal Round. They took on the Netherlands and went down early in the first period but managed to tie it about four minutes later. The Dutch team scored twice more in the period to lead 3-1. Polish hero Wieslaw Jobczyk (who scored a hat trick in the 1976 upset against USSR) scored to put Poland within one goal but the Netherlands stormed back to get two more goals before the third period to make it 5-2. The Polish ended up losing 5-3 and saw their hopes of the Medal round come to an end. They had one more game against Japan, who had not won any games in the tournament and only tied once. Poland burst out in the first period and scored 3 goals before twenty minutes had ended. They scored two more goals and Japan seemed out of it. The final score was 5-1 for Poland. The team's final record was 2-3-0 and received 4 points in the standings.
The III Olympic Winter Games were held in Lake Placid,USA.
Poland's hockey team.Left to right, kneeling:D-Albert Mauer, F-Adam Kowalski, F-Witalis Ludwiczak. Standing, left to right:Polakiewicz(member technical advisory committee), D-Aleksander Kowalski, D/F-Kazimierz Sokolowski, F-Roman Sabinski, G-Jozef Stogowski, F-Czeslaw Marchewczyk, F-Wlodzimierz Krygier, and G-Tadeusz Sachs(Not in photo is D/F-Kazimierz Materski)
Although early information from countries planning to take part in the Olympic Winter Games led the Organizing Committee to believe that a large number of ice hockey teams would compete at Lake Placid, unprecedented economic conditions all over the world, conditions that steadily grew worse as the closing date for national entries approached, resulted in only four teams entering. These teams at Lake Placid represented Canada, Germany, Poland, and the United States.