© Sports Report
With a 5:3 victory over Great Britain on Monday night, the Austrian men’s national ice hockey team made an early mark as a winter sport. Summer fairy tale. The best results against all the major ice hockey powers, the first victory in history over the Czech Republic and, finally, in real excitement against Great Britain, and stay in the league. Head coach Roger Bader answered questions live at victory hour, talking about his 100th international match, team development, the secret recipe and the relegation party he deserved.
Roger, right before the Great Britain game you said your 100th international match means nothing to you unless you win that match. What does this memory mean to you now?
Roger Bader: “After we won, I am happy with the number 100. It shows continuity when you can play 100 caps, both as a player and as a coach. This is very special.”
What is your conclusion about the World Cup? How has the team evolved since the first team camp in Linz at the beginning of April?
Roger Bader: “The team has grown incredibly. We worked with the team for a few weeks and they made progress week after week. This was already indicated with the top competitors we had before the World Cup. Sweden match in Vienna, then the Ostrava tournament, but also Germany match, how the team plays with self-confidence, even against superior opponents. We took that to the World Cup itself, and I can remember the World Cup where we lost to Sweden 7-0 8-0 and we didn’t have a chance. Now the team always thinks of its chance. It was a process over a few weeks in which the players made tremendous progress individually and as a group.”
Only the best results, including a historic 2-1 win over the Czech Republic and survival in the league thanks to a 5-3 win over Great Britain. What is the secret recipe?
Roger Bader: “A few things of course. On the one hand, we had time to develop a team while preparing. It definitely helped that Salzburg became champions in such a short amount of time and that the players were able to join us early in the whole process. It helped. With the exception of Marco Casper, we almost had The World Cup team together from the third camp.The second is definitely the selection of players, who are not only good hockey players and are physically able to play at this level, but also very good players with good personalities.We had an incredibly good team spirit and I think you could see That’s against Great Britain. Without that team spirit we wouldn’t have shot this match. But because the cohesion in the team was so good, that’s definitely one of the secrets of that success.”
How is this success celebrated?
Roger Bader: “I’m sure the players didn’t just drink coffee. They should celebrate, they deserve it. We had such a great program that the players only had a day or two of rest between camps and even in the World Cup itself we had by far the toughest program with Seven games in ten days. We haven’t had a lot of opportunities to give the players a full chance to really rejuvenate over time, so it definitely deserves well when they celebrate this achievement.”
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