By Martin Merk – IIHF.com
Roger Bader will coach the Austrian men’s national team for the remainder of the season it was confirmed after a board meeting of the Austrian Ice Hockey Association. He will also continue to serve as head coach of the U20 national team.
Bader is already the third head coach for the men’s national team this year. After Dan Ratushny left Austria to coach Lausanne HC of the Swiss NLA, sport director and veteran coach Alpo Suhonen was leading the team in the Final Olympic Qualification in Riga, Latvia, in September but after the unsatisfactory results Roger Bader was chosen to coach the team at least for the recent Euro Ice Hockey Challenge tournament in Budapest, Hungary. Now his assignment has been extended for the remainder of the season.
The 52-year-old Swiss spent his coaching career in Switzerland until 2013 where he was coaching senior hockey club teams but also several junior national teams including being head coach at three U18 World Championships.
Since 2014 he has been working for the Austrian Ice Hockey Association as U20 national team coach, development coach and mentor for club coaches – duties that he will continue. He has also been the assistant coach of the men’s national team since last season and at the Olympic Qualification in September.
Last year he led Austria to a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A. The U20 team will be his next task as it battles for promotion to the top division at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A in Bremerhaven, Germany, from 11 to 17 December against Belarus, Kazakhstan, Norway, Germany and France.
“Roger Bader has already had some success as U20 national team coach and successfully led a very young [men’s national] team at the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge. We become convinced that we want to continue working with him. We expect a continuous development of the Austrian national team and the assignment of young players as it has been the case in Budapest,” President Gernot Mittendorfer said.
“I feel honoured and glad to get the confidence to continue working as head coach of the Austrian national team,” said Bader. “I’m very proud and will pursue the assignment with due respect.”
The Austrian men’s national team will host another tournament of the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge, the Osterreich Cup, from 6-12 February in Graz with France, Norway and Slovakia.
From 22 to 28 April the Austrians will battle for promotion at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Kyiv with Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Korea and host Ukraine.