Gdynia’s torch visited Łódź first

The last Saturday match of the new season will be the evening game between Wilki Lodzkie and Seahawks Gdynia. On paper, the competition seems to be the least even from the round. Both teams went through major changes though and all attempts to predict the score before the first whistle are like reading tea leaves.

Wilki Lodzkie have a season they would like to forget about behind themselves. Last year, their stay in the elite was unsure until the very end of the main part of the season. If Angels Torun won against Olsztyn Lakers, we would be looking for the team from Lodz in LFA2. The fortune helped the Wolves though and this year they would definitely like to assure at least a secure place in the league. The last season’s result 1-7 doesn’t make them proud. What’s more, it brought some major consequences. Craig Parkinson stopped being the head coach and his place took well known American Lonnie Hursey. The coach has worked with Tychy Falcons, Wolverines Opole or Sabercats Sopot in the past. The offensive coordinator of the team from Lodz will be yet another trainer, who has worked in Poland for years. Jason Abney has been connected with Warsaw and surroundings working for Warsaw Dukes or Monarchs Zabki.

Seahawks are a very tough opponent, especially to start a season against. After our return from a week training camp, where we could use 45 players, ready to prepare for the season, not worrying about the family or schooly, I simply know, that it will be a good season for us – said the new head coach of the Wilki Lodzkie.

The team from Lodz haven’t made a revolution in their squad. Their biggest problem in the previous season was a plague of injuries, which hunted the team. If the players avoid it this year, the Wolves may count on some satisfying results. Recruiting brought some 20 new players on board. Additionally, Patryk Kurkowski came back to the team after his adventure in the Netherlands. The linebacker will not be able to help the team in their first game due to an injury. The situation of the American player of the Wolves looks interestingly this season as well. It’s Malcolm Gasque, who played with the last year’s vice-champions of Turkey – Sakarya Tatankalari, that competed in the CEFL Cup. What’s interesting, the American is likely prepared to play both sides – he gets ready to become a running back in the offense and a linebacker in the defense.

I am aware, that the upcoming match against Seahawks is probably the biggest football challenge we’ve faced so far. Honestly, I can’t wait to do it. I feel, that the Wolves are a totally different team this year. We are a united and hungry pack. The offseason filled with hard work under the supervision of coach Lonny Hursey caused, that we all know well what is our job on the field. Maybe we’re not the favorite of the upcoming game, but we know we’re capable of winning, as long as we don’t defeat ourselves – declares the defensive player of the hosts, Julian Traczykowski.

Seahawks Gdynia went through a hard time. The leave of coach Maciej Cetnerowski, the first lost semi-final in years – this is what the triple champions of Poland had to deal with. The crisis is long behind them now though. The successor of Cetnerowski is a young, but already well experienced in the work in Europe Mele J. Mosqueda, who won the German championship just a few months ago. He was a part of the coaching crew of Schwabish Hall Unicorns. His plan is to engage people formerly connected with the team to support Seahawks Gdynia. As a result, Gawel Pilachowski became the coach of the running backs and Pete Plast a supervisor of the defensive backs. The official hashtag of Seahawks for the season is #CarryingTheTorch which indicates carrying the symbolic coach, which started to give light years ago thanks to Maciej Cetnerowski. This torch has been handed over to Mele J. Mosqueda now.

The preparations for the new season under the supervision of coach Mele were intesive and gave the team both new energy and involvement. Most importantly, the core of the team, which can introduce the new players to the system of work, stayed. Strengthening the coaching crew is a very positive point. For sure, we’ll miss the experience of Maciej Cetnerowski, but the new faces or the old faces in new roles also have a great knowledge to pass. Often, they are full of new ideas, which can influence the team positively. We are entering the season with readiness and focus. We are sure of ourselves and we’re planning to show our character on the field – said Jakub Krystecki, the captain of Seahawks Gdynia

The Seahawks changed not only the head coach before the new season. They also have new American players. The leader of the offense will be Philip Juhlin – a representative of Sweden with the American passport, who has recently been presenting his skills in a major Scandinavian club, Carlstadt Crusaders. On the linebacker’s position, we will see Barron Miller, who has recently played in the Austrian league and received many positive reviews there. The American was praised by Jakub Mazan in the American Football League Magazine at Weszlo FM, who compared him to Zachary Blair playing for Lowlanders Bialystok. Seahawks have also undergone some interesting, though not that spectacular Polish changes. In Black and Yellow jersey we will see for example players, who reached the junior championship of Poland for Angels Torun. The roster will also be strengthened by players, who performed in LFA9 team last year.

We’ve done a decent job in the recruiting process of bringing on some huge new pieces to the roster. Counting, of course, our two new imports in Philip Juhlin (QB) and Barron Miller (LB), as well as new defensive support: Grzegorz Piotrowski and Maciej Ćwikliński both from Angels Torun. In my opinion, the biggest boost to our program has been to our coaching staff with the addition of Coach Gaweł Pilachowski (Running Backs) and Coach Peter Plesa (Defensive Backs). Both are not only highly respected within the Seahawks Family and in Tricity, but have also had tremendous careers in Poland and at the National Level. They have brought a high level of quality coaching and a “Dawg”/”Stay Dangerous” Attitude that I want us to possess and it is trickling throughout the program. I wouldn’t call the last season defeat a lesson. I would say it is more along the lines of understanding the process and that to achieve something great, which every team strives for on a yearly basis, it will depend on a day-to-day, week-to-week, game-to-game mentality. It’s a Process and for us, we are writing “our” story on a weekly basis. We can only focus on ourselves on not the rest of the league. We control our own destiny and if everyone knows their roles and is fully prepared for their respective duties, then everything is possible. This goes for our entire program. If we do that, we will be well on our way. The other aspect is to enjoy the daily challenge; The Struggle. We have had 32 practices since my arrival and the main focus has been to practice fast and to challenge the players the second they hit the field until the second they “jog” off. We practice as we will play; it’s an actual fight and challenges each practice. The goal is to have them flourish as a collective group when times get bad on the field and be ready for the absolute worst. It’s all about handling adversity head on and we are here to do our jobs and get better each practice. Taking all this in mind, I would have said it will be a different team. There are both a new fire and a motivation amongst the team and they are hungry for a seat at the table. From our side, preparations have gone as expected. We are more than ready for this business trip! We’ve improved practice to practice to be on the current stage we are at and our men are ready for the challenge that Wilki will bring forth this coming Saturday. The Wolves, like us, have a new coaching staff and new coordinators with new schemes. It will be an exciting game for the fans to watch as the 2019 LFA Season kicks off. – said Mele J. Mosqueda, the new head coach for Seahawks Gdynia.

The game of the first round of LFA1 between Wilki Lodzkie and Seahawks Gdynia will start on Saturday, the 23rd of March at 5:00 pm at Minerska street.

Mariusz Kankowski
LFA Press Office