Pewal to coach Austria U20
by Martin Merk|25 SEP 2018
The Austrian U20 national team during last year's IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A.
photo: Olivier Brajon
The Austrian Ice Hockey Association has named Marco Pewal as new head coach of the Austrian U20 national team. He succeeds Alexander Mellitzer, who left for Heilbronner Falken in Germany’s DEL2.
Pewal worked as an assistant coach for the U20 and U18 national teams and temporarily also of the men’s national team. He also coached the U19 national team last season.
The 40-year-old played professional hockey in Austria between 1998 and 2015 and was recently still active in an amateur league. He represented Austria in 49 national team games including five men’s IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship tournaments – two in the top division and three in Division I that ended with promotion for Austria. He won five Austrian championships, one with his hometown team Villach and four with Red Bull Salzburg, with which he also won the 2010 IIHF Continental Cup.
Pewal will lead the U20 national team for the first time during the November International Break. Austria will play at a Four Nations Tournament in Vojens against host Denmark, Belarus and Latvia. He will be assisted by three other former national team players, Philipp Lukas, Philipp Pinter and Jurgen Penker.
His most important event will be one month later. From 9th to 15th December Austria will play the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A across the border in Fussen with host Germany, Belarus, Latvia, France and Norway. The winner of the six-team event will be promoted to the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“It’s an interesting task and a very strong six-team group. Our goal is to make sure we stay in the group as soon as possible,” Pewal said.
During the summer, the team was led by sports director and men’s national team head coach Roger Bader.
“It’s of big importance that we work with Austrian coaches. They had the best education and are motivated. Although they’re lacking experience, we want to give confidence to young coaches and through this way develop Austrian coaches for the future,” Bader said.