VIENNA Ė The Austrian Ice Hockey Association has signed a three-year deal with Emanuel Viveiros to be their new head coach of the Austrian national team. He will be assisted by Rob Daum and Christian Weber.
Born in St. Albert, Alberta, Viveiros played in North America until the age of 25 before moving over to Austria. He won a silver medal with Canada at the 1986 IIHF World U20 Championship, and he played 29 NHL games for the Minnesota North Stars.
Viveiros spent 17 years in Europe as a player, 13 in Austria. Heís been living in Klagenfurt since 2000, coaching KAC Klagenfurt since 2007 after retiring as a player. He won four Austrian championships as a player and led Klagenfurt to the league title in 2009.
The 45-year-old is no stranger to the Austrian national team. He became an Austrian citizen and represented the country in the 2005 IIHF World Championship on home ice in Vienna. In the last two years he served as assistant coach to his predecessor in the Austrian national team, American coach Bill Gilligan.
Viveiros, who will continue his job with KAC Klagenfurt, has two sons who have stepped into his shoes as defencemen. Landan, 17, represented Austriaís U18 national team last year while Layne, 16, has just transferred from Klagenfurt to the WHLís Portland Winterhawks.
Viveiros will be joined by Canadian Rob Daum. A long-time coach at the University of Alberta, Daum spent the last five years coaching pro teams in North America. The 53-year-old held the head coach position with the AHLís Houston Aeros and the Springfield Falcons for two years each, and was an assistant coach with the NHLís Edmonton Oilers for one year. He became head coach of Austrian club team Black Wings Linz this past summer.
Christian Weber will be the other assistant coach. The 47-year-old represented Switzerland in five World Championships. He was coaching the ZSC Lions Zurich, the SCL Tigers Langnau and the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers in the Swiss National League A for the last eight years before moving to Klagenfurt this year, where heís in charge of the farm team and the U20 team.
Austria will play in the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with Slovenia, Hungary, Great Britain, Japan and Ukraine. The best two teams will be promoted, but making it back to the Top Division as quickly as possible is not the primary goal.
Dieter Kalt, the President of the Austrian Ice Hockey Associations, announced after the discussions with Viveiros that the long-term plan is to develop a national team with young players in order to put the team back on a solid footing in the future.
The World Championships have been a rollercoaster ride for the Austrians since the relegation on home ice in 2005. The Eagles won the Division I tournament the following year in Tallinn, Estonia, but were relegated again in 2007 in Moscow. In 2008 Austria won its Division I group on home ice in Innsbruck, but the year after they were again relegated in neighbouring country Switzerland. The Austrians had bad luck at the 2009 event in Berne and Kloten as they finished 14th, but worse-ranked Germany could not be relegated because they were automatically qualified as the host country of the following year, and Austria had to bite the bullet. In 2010 in Tilburg, Netherlands, the Austrians won another Division I event, but they were relegated at the recent 2011 Worlds in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.