Bader, who is the head coach of the men’s national team, replaces Marco Pewal, who wasn’t released by his club team VSV Villach because he would miss up to 15 games as an assistant coach of his club team. Bader was originally foreseen to join the team as team manager, a position that will now be assumed by Tamara Steiner.
“It’s a pity that Marco Pewal can’t be the head coach of the U20 national team. We understand the concern of VSV, which is in a difficult situation due to the Covid-19 situation,” said Klaus Hartmann, the President of the Austrian Ice Hockey Association. “That the head coach of the men’s national team will fill in is a logical and the best solution. We are glad that Roger Bader made himself available for this task.”
Former national team player Pewal has been coaching the U20 national team for the third year and led it to promotion one year ago.
Bader worked for a long time as a coach in his native country Switzerland before joining the Austrian Ice Hockey Association in 2014. He already served as head coach of the U20 national team during his first three years and as head coach of the men’s national team since the 2016/2017 season.
“I can understand the decision of VSV. As sport director of the men’s national teams I find it a pity that Marco, who sensationally reached promotion with his team, can’t be in Canada. I chose him two years ago for this position and I would have liked to see him in this position in Edmonton. As head coach of this U20 team I look forward to the challenge and will together with my coaching team try to represent Austrian ice hockey the best way possible at the World Juniors.”
The team played two exhibition games against Hungary last week and will come together on 6 December for a one-week camp in a bubble in St. Polten before flying to Edmonton for the World Juniors.
Austria will be back at the top-level of the World Juniors for the first time since 2010. The team will play its first game on 26 December against Team USA and also face Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic in Group B of the preliminary round.