TOP 100 OILERS: MARIUSZ CZERKAWSKI (82)

Mariusz

Teammates called him Chow, but fans dubbed him the Polish Prince. He dated supermodels and married Bond girl Izabella Scorupco. Now retired after 14 seasons twirling around the NHL, he spends much of his time just being cool and golfing as a member of the PGA back home in Poland. 

If this was a list of former Edmonton Oilers who had it going on and still do now that their playing days are over, Mariusz Czerkawski would easily make my top three. As it stands, with living the kind of life you read about in GQ Magazine not figuring into things, the talented Czerkawski still makes my Top 100 after spending just 113 games in Oiler silks.

Mariusz Czerkawski #21

Right Wing

NUMBER: 29 BIRTHDATE: April 13, 1972
HEIGHT: 6′ 0″ BIRTHPLACE: Radomsko, Poland
WEIGHT: 200 DRAFTED: BOS / 1991 NHL Entry Draft
SHOOTS: Right ROUND: 5th   (106th overall)

BY THE NUMBERS

CAREER REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS

SEASON TEAM GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG S S%
1993-94 BRUINS 4 2 1 3 -2 0 1 0 0 11 18.2
1993-94 DJURGARDENS IF STOCKHOLM-SWEDEN 39 13 21 34 20
1994-95 BRUINS 47 12 14 26 4 31 1 0 2 126 9.5
1994-95 KIEKKO-ESPOO-FINLAND 7 9 3 12 10
1995-96 BRUINS 33 5 6 11 -11 10 1 0 0 63 7.9
1995-96 OILERS 37 12 17 29 7 8 2 0 1 79 15.2
1996-97 OILERS 76 26 21 47 0 16 4 0 3 182 14.3
1997-98 ISLANDERS 68 12 13 25 11 23 2 0 1 136 8.8
1997-98 POLAND-WC-B 3 2 1 3 0
1998-99 ISLANDERS 78 21 17 38 -10 14 4 0 1 205 10.2
1999-00 ISLANDERS 79 35 35 70 -16 34 16 0 4 276 12.7
1999-00 POLAND-WC-B 7 4 7 11 2
2000-01 ISLANDERS 82 30 32 62 -24 48 10 1 0 287 10.4
2001-02 ISLANDERS 82 22 29 51 -8 48 6 0 6 169 13.0
2001-02 POLAND-WC-A 3 2 2 4 4
2002-03 CANADIENS 43 5 9 14 -7 16 1 0 0 77 6.5
2002-03 HAMILTON BULLDOGS-AHL 20 8 12 20 0 12 3 0 2 86 9.3
2003-04 ISLANDERS 81 25 24 49 8 16 9 0 2 157 15.9
2004-05 DJURGARDENS IF STOCKHOLM-SWEDEN 46 15 9 24 20
2005-06 MAPLE LEAFS 19 4 1 5 -2 6 1 0 0 41 9.8
2005-06 BRUINS 16 4 1 5 -4 4 0 0 0 31 12.9
2005-06 POLAND-WC-B 5 3 4 7 2
2006-07 SC RAPPERSWIL-JONA LAKERS-SWISS 43 21 20 41 70
2007-08 RAPPERSWIL-JONA LAKERS-SWISS 49 22 31 53 30
NHL TOTALS 745 215 220 435 -54 274 58 1 20 1,840 11.7

CAREER PLAYOFF STATISTICS

SEASON TEAM GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG S S%
1991-92 DJURGARDENS IF STOCKHOLM-SWEDEN 3 0 0 0 2
1992-93 HAMMARBY IF STOCKHOLM-SWEDEN-2 13 16 7 23 34
1993-94 BRUINS 13 3 3 6 -1 4 1 0 0 22 13.6
1993-94 DJURGARDENS IF STOCKHOLM-SWEDEN 6 3 1 4 2
1994-95 BRUINS 5 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 11 9.1
1996-97 OILERS 12 2 1 3 -2 10 0 0 0 19 10.5
2001-02 ISLANDERS 7 2 2 4 -3 4 1 0 0 11 18.2
2002-03 HAMILTON BULLDOGS-AHL 6 1 3 4 4 6 0 0 0 14 7.1
2003-04 ISLANDERS 5 0 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 7 0.0
NHL TOTALS 42 8 7 15 -7 18 2 0 0 70 11.4

NOTABLE

Czerkawski, the first Polish born and raised player to make it to the NHL, arrived in Edmonton from Boston with Sean Brown in January 1996 when the Oilers sent goaltender Bill Ranford the other way. He produced right away, scoring 12 goals and adding 17 assists for 29 points in 37 games.

In 1996-97, his only full season in Edmonton, Czerkawski scored 26 goals, third on the team behind only Ryan Smyth (a career-high 39) and Andrei Kovalenko (32) in 76 games. During that campaign, Czerkawski waltzed back into Boston and notched a hat-trick Nov. 7, 1996 as the Oilers beat the Bruins – they didn’t win there again until a 3-2 victory in Boston last month.

The other highlight of that season, one in which the Oilers went 36-37-9 under coach Ron Low, was an appearance at then-Edmonton Coliseum by Scorupco, a model, actress and singer who made a splash playing alongside Pierce Brosnan in the 1995 Bond film GoldenEye, but I digress . . .

THE STORY

That 1996-97 season should have set Czerkawski up for a long run as a member of the Oilers – they certainly could have used him — but with owner Peter Pocklington on the way out and the EIG on the way in, it wasn’t to be as Czerkawski became another in a long line of players to leave Edmonton because the Oilers couldn’t afford to keep him. 

Czerkawski, who was in line for a considerable raise after making $300,000 in 1996-97, was traded to the New York Islanders for Dan LaCouture by GM Glen Sather that summer. Czerkawski, just 25 at the time, signed a five-year deal with the Islanders worth $6.6 million. Another good one gone.

All told, Czerkawski tallied 38-38-76 in his 113 regular season games with the Oilers. He closed out his 745-game career with a second stint in Boston, playing just 16 games in 2005-06, before trading in his skates for golf spikes and returning home to Poland.

 This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 


Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

PREVIOUSLY:

  • chickenStew

    Went to see the Blues play the Oil in an afternoon game when Gretz was with the Blues.
    My joy in seeing 99 again was short lived when Bucky leveled him with an elbow early. Boom. Down. Out of the game.. Thanks Buchberger.

    There were about 79 people in the stands in those days, so as I went to get a beer to drown my sorrows, I looked down the line of empty seats beside me and there was Izabella Scorupco sitting with what appeared to be a member of the Russian woman’s weightlifting team in a huge fur coat.

    I realized that I had to scrunch past Izabella to get out of the row (which I did in a gentlemanly slow fashion).

    She was absolutely gorgeous in person, and while I don’t know much about perfume, she smelled so good that to this day I remember it.

  • vetinari

    Wow. I remember playing Nintendo hockey games with my brothers as the Oilers and being in their faces if I scored as Czerkawski as I just liked saying his name. Was also bummed when he got traded in such a short time span.

  • Ovenchicken69

    A perfectly legitimate reason to show a Bond Girl, and it wasn’t taken.

    Does this mean ON is aspiring to a higher standard, or was Chris the Intern hung over?

  • LibrarianMike

    One big memory I have of him was a game against the Kings. He got high-sticked, but there was no call (imagine that) and was so mad he spit blood at the Kings’ bench. I thought Ray Ferraro was going to kill him.

    The only other memory was my friend and I laughing about the fact that Izabella and Glenn Anderson were the two Oiler people to roll into town wearing garish fur coats that year.

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    My favorite memory was a buddy and myself having lunch in the food court at Kingsway mall. A few tables over was Mariusz & Izabella. We ran to the car, found a program (Todd Marchant was on the cover) & were lucky to get both to sign it. Izabella even put a little heart above her name. Even in a food court in the middle of the day, that woman was gorgeous.

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    I bonded with a Polish kid who barely spoke English in the middle of London over the existence of Mariusz Czerkawski. First thing out of his mouth when I said I was from Edmonton.

  • chickenStew

    Every time I think of the EIG I mutter thanks for their having been around in those dark times. Edmonton is so far north and off the beaten path, we may never have gotten another team in here had Pocklington succeeded in moving them or selling them to a different market.

    As much as so many people are down on Katz, us Oiler fans are in a much better place now.

    I got on this tangent because I was thinking it was too bad Czerkawski hit Edmonton at that time. I always thought he was a good offensive talent and he would have done better here with different support.