“It has become more and more intense in the past few days and it has also become clear that we are going to play in the World Cup. We are very happy with this opportunity, although the circumstances are very unfortunate,” sporting director Herren and head coach Roger Bader point out to the Ukraine crisis, the background to Russia’s exclusion and Belarus. The path of the World Cup is clear, and Badr lays out the plan: “We want to show and prove that we belong to the first group.”
From a sporting point of view, the ÖEHV actually only qualified for the World Championship in Division 1A (B-WM) in Ljubljana at the beginning of May. The Austrians now replace Belarus and meet hosts Finland, the United States, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Latvia, Norway and Great Britain in the group stage in Tampere. As an alternative to Russia, France will have to deal with Canada, Slovakia, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Germany and Italy in Helsinki.
2 weeks of preparation
The World Cup preparations are being extended by two weeks in order to prepare for this intense tournament. “A-WM is in many ways a very different dimension from B-WM. In Slovenia we would have played five matches in seven days, and in the World Cup we would have seven matches in ten to twelve days. And this is on a completely different level.” “The pressure is enormous”, Bader explains.
Aside from A-WM itself, other doors were opened for Austria. In addition to the friendly matches against the Czech Republic (6 and 8 April), Poland (14 and 16 April) and Italy (24 and 25 April), which have already been decided, Austria was chosen as a substitute for Russia in the four matches. Nation Championship with Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic in Ostrava (April 28 – May 1). “It’s exciting. You don’t get an opportunity like this otherwise,” said enthusiastic director Bader Al-Hamsy. The final week of preparations will take place in Schöningen (Germany), where the German national team will meet on May 9th. On the 10th of May we will go to Finland.
Russian meditation and ravel
The team boss is also hoping to get support from US Legion Michael Raffle and Marco Rossi in his title fights. “The later the World Cup is held, the higher the chances of players who are committed to North America joining,” Bader said, but put it in the same perspective: “If Michael Ravel does the playoff with Dallas stars, it won’t be a problem. If he doesn’t play in the games. The clincher, it probably depends on whether he has a new contract or not.”
Marco Rossi is not currently in the AHL playoffs. “Minnesota Wild could pull him into the playoffs though. I will consult with the Minnesota State General Manager about whether it would be a good idea to develop him to play for Austria in the World Cup,” Bader said.
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