The Austrian men’s under-20 ice hockey team took off for the World Cup in Canada. All the players called up three weeks ago were on board, and of course all the PCR tests were negative. There are now two days of quarantine before preparations can finally begin.
“You can now slowly feel how the expectations as well as the positive tension are building,” said ÖEHV sporting director Roger Bader, who heads the Austrian U20 team as head of the delegation.
Finland (December 27), hosts Canada (December 28), the Czech Republic (December 30) and Germany (December 31) are contenders in the group. On December 21 and 23, they will play two more Test matches against Slovakia and Sweden, after which coach Marco Piwal will nominate the final 25-man squad for which they will move to Edmonton on the same day.
“It’s a special thing to be competing against the best players in the world. Having not had a relegation the year before, things are starting to get more dangerous again this year. We see our chance of escaping the relegation most likely against Germany. In the event of relegation, I expect there will be Slovakia or Switzerland there.”
As the game plan says, the brother’s duel with Germany is the last team match. So it’s a real confrontation.
Before that happens, after you arrive in Canada, you have to quickly acclimatise to the two-day quarantine, put up with the change of time and use the two days for rest and renewal.
Because the following days and weeks will be intense, as Roger Bader reveals: “The daily training units, the games at the highest level – you have to be fit and ready. Both physically and mentally.”
www.eishockey.at, pic: ÖEHV
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