By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh
Happy 47th Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Forward Krzysztof Oliwa!
Krzysztof Oliwa was born on April 12th, 1973, in Tychy, Poland. He began playing juniors in Poland as a 17-year-old forward for the GKS Katowski Jr. (Poland-Jr.) and then at 18-years-old joined the professional polish league to play for GKS Tychy (Poland). The 6’5, 245-pound forward played his final year of juniors in 1992-1993 for the Welland Flames (ON-Jr.B), suiting up for 30 games, producing 13 goals and 34 points with 127 PIM. The following summer, Oliwa was selected by the New Jersey Devils as their third-round pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.
After being drafted, Oliwa was assigned to the Devils’ “AA” minor-pro affiliate, Raleigh IceCaps (ECHL), but quickly impressed after just 15 games and was promoted to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Albany River Bats (AHL). He played a combined 48 games between both clubs, posting 2-6-8 numbers with a whopping 216 PIM. Oliwa quickly became known for his intimidating physical appearance and ability to fight.
The forward spent the next two seasons, from 1994-1996, playing for several teams and leagues (AHL, ECHL, IHL) until the 1996-1997 season when he played for the Albany River Rats (AHL), suiting up for 60 games and posting 13-14-27 numbers with an astounding 324 PIM. Later that season, Oliwa was called up for his first National Hockey League action with the New Jersey Devils, playing in just one game and recording his first career NHL fight. The forward would go on to spend the next three seasons with New Jersey from 1997-2000, playing in 206 games and producing 13-20-33 numbers with a whopping 719 PIM.
During the 2000 off-season, Oliwa was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets with Deron Quint in exchange for Columbus’ third-round choice (Brandon Nolan) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and Turner Stevenson. Unfortunately, Oliwa missed the majority of the season after suffering an arm injury vs. Detroit on October 28th, 2000. He was then traded in January of 2001 to the Pittsburgh Penguins for San Jose’s third-round choice in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft (Aaron Johnson). The forward would return for the last part of the 2001 season, suiting up in 26 games for the Penguins.
Oliwa played the 2001-2002 season with the Penguins, suiting up for 57 games and amassing 150 PIM before being traded in 2002 to the New York Rangers in exchange for their ninth-round selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The forward would appear in just nine games in a Penguins’ uniform before being traded to Boston in January of 2003 in exchange for their ninth-round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Oliwa would go on to wear the Spoked-B for the remainder of the season, playing in 33 games and collecting 110 PIM. After his contract with Boston expired, he signed to the Calgary Flames as a free agent, suiting up for 65 games with the Flames that season. After his one-year deal expired with Calgary, he signed to the New Jersey Devils as a free agent in 2004.
Oliwa only appeared in three games with the team that initially drafted the forward before leaving the NHL to play in Poland after being signed by Nowy Targ (Poland) as a free agent in 2004. After the 2004-2005 season, he officially retired from the hockey world. Throughout his nine-year career in the NHL, he played in 410 games and posted 17-28-45 numbers with 1,447 PIM. According to Hockey Fights, Oliwa finished with a total of 164 fighting majors in the NHL, with 12 of those being in a Bruins uniform. Happy birthday, Krzysztof Oliwa!