Kunast follows after Benjamin Hinterstocker, who was in his fourth season with the women’s national team that he coached most recently at a tournament in Switzerland where the team finished winless. He will continue to coach the U20 national team until the end of the year including the IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A on home ice in Fussen from 9 to 15 December.
With the beginning of the new year he will be in charge of the women’s national team with the long-term goal of preparing and qualifying for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
“After almost four years as junior coach I’m looking forward to my new tasks at the women’s national team. Over the past years we have created a philosophy and structure in the men’s and junior area. We want to implement and develop them within the existing structures of the women’s national team,” Kunast said.
Kunast was a professional goaltender in the German DEL for many years winning one championship with the Munich Barons in 2000 and was on the roster of the national team several times including getting ice time at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the 2001 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. In 2007 he retired with the Hannover Scorpions and started his coaching career there at the same time. Since 2015 he has worked as U20 national team coach for the German Ice Hockey Association and served as video coach for the men’s national team.
Long-time women’s national team player Franziska Busch will serve as the new head coach of the U18 women’s national team. She joined the coaching staff last year as an assistant coach and replaces Tommy Kettner, who was coaching the team during the past three seasons. Busch was already behind the bench as head coach at the recent Four Nations tournament in Bad Tolz. The agreement was made until the end of the season.
Busch has been a top-level player in Germany until 2015/2016. She represented Germany in eight IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship tournaments (six in the top division) and two Olympic Winter Games before becoming a youth coach. During the summer she took part in the Coach Development Program of the 2018 IIHF Women’s High-Performance Camp in Finland.
“The change and realignment in the women’s hockey area for the new Olympic cycle comes in huge steps. We are very happy to have an experienced and motivated women’s national team coach with Christian Kunast and with Franziska Busch a young and newly educated U18 women’s national team coach for the upcoming important and difficult tasks,” said German Ice Hockey Association President Franz Reindl. “Our women’s national teams have to stand their ground in the world and the participation in Beijing 2022 is the unconditional goal.”
“Christian Kunast convinced us with his concept and vision for German women’s ice hockey as did Franziska Busch with her perfectly complementing direction for the U18 national team. Both are well educated, have experience at the international level and want to actively shape the positive development of women’s hockey,” said Sport Director Stefan Schaidnagel.
Germany finished the last IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in 2017 in fourth placed but missed out a spot at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in the deciding qualification game against Japan.
At the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland, which will take place for the first time with ten teams, the Germany will play in the “lower” Group B with Sweden, Japan, the Czech Republic and France and battle for a spot in the quarter-finals.