MUNICH – The German Ice Hockey Association (DEB) introduced Pat Cortina as new head coach of the men’s national team on Monday.
He signed a contract valid until the 2014/2015 season and will also be the association’s sports director.
Cortina was chosen by a selection committee with members from the association and the country’s top league DEL. Long-time German national coach Hans Zach and former Swedish national team coach Bengt-Åke Gustafsson were reportedly among the candidates.
“Pat convinced us with his concept that represents our ideas well. His views on the reciprocity between men’s and junior hockey are impressive,” said DEB President Uwe Harnos.
Cortina is an experienced national team coach. Born in Montreal with Canadian and Italian citizenship, he appeared as Italy’s assistant coach at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games already at the young age of 27. Four years later he was coaching the U20 national team.
In 2000 he took over the reign of the Italian men’s national team leading it to three IIHF World Championships including two in the Top Division (2001, 2002).
In 2003 he took a new challenge and became club and national team coach in Hungary. He coached the national team during seven years and led it to the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland – the first time in 70 years Hungary had appeared in the Top Division.
Cortina was also successful in Munich. He joined EHC München in 2008 and led the team to the top league in 2010.
For the 48-year-old it will be a dual role in Munich, where the association has its headquarters and where it will host its traditional four nations tournament, the Deutschland Cup, during the November international break.
He will continue to coach his club team for the remainder of the season but will leave the club to focus on his national team duties as of next season.
“It’s an honour to coach a team like Germany,” Cortina said. “It has always been clear for me that I wouldn’t leave EHC München for another DEL club. But I have to use my chance to work for one of the best teams in the world.”
In the national team he follows after Uwe Krupp, who coached the team for seven years, and Jakob “Köbi” Kölliker, who was the head coach last season.
Cortina’s first big challenge will come in February when Germany hosts one group of the Final Olympic Qualification in Bietigheim-Bissingen with Austria, Italy and a qualifier as the opponents. Only the winner will go to Sochi 2014.
At the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Germany will play in Helsinki where Cortina’s squad will face Russia, Finland, Slovakia, the United States, Latvia, France and Austria in the Preliminary Round.