OEHV sports director Roger Bader, left, with Austria's new under-20 national team head coach Kirk Furey ©Getty Images

Kirk Furey has been announced as Austria's new head coach as he prepares to lead the team at the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men's World Junior Championship in Canada.

The Austrian Ice Hockey Association (OEHV) has confirmed that Furey will step into the role vacated by Marco Pewal following his resignation.

The 46-year-old Canadian will be joined by assistant coach Mathias Lange and goaltending coach Lukas Schluderbacher, who were also part of the coaching staff at the 2022 IIHF Men's World Junior Championship where Austria finished bottom of their group.

"I’ve been living with my family in Austria for 15 years, our two children were born here, it’s our homeland," said Furey.

"Therefore it’s a great honour for me to be able to lead the red-white-red under-20 national team to the IIHF World Junior Championship.

"For team Austria it is not an everyday occurrence to prove itself among the best ten teams at the world juniors and we will prepare for this tournament with a lot of respect.

"At the same time we want to call everybody’s attention on the ice since Austria has never won a game at the top-level world juniors - and we want to change that."

Austria finished bottom of their group at the 2022 IIHF Men's World Junior Championship in Canada ©Getty Images
Austria finished bottom of their group at the 2022 IIHF Men's World Junior Championship in Canada ©Getty Images

Furey has been living in Austria since 2007 when he joined KAC Klagenfurt first as a player before switching to coaching in 2015.

He has been coaching Klagenfurt’s second team that is playing in the Alps Hockey League since 2018, and will continue to do so despite his appointment to the national team.

"I’m very happy that we were able to find a great and experienced head coach in Kirk Furey," said Roger Bader, sports director of the OEHV.

"I know his qualities and I’m convinced that he will execute these well in this mandate. 

"He has been working as head coach in the youth area for many years and knows most players personally.

"Thanks to KAC and general manager Oliver Pilloni to make this double function possible and for the support."

Furey is a native of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia where Austria are due to play their preliminary-round games against Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and hosts Canada.

Halifax and Moncton are scheduled to play host to the IIHF Men’s World Junior Championship from December 26 in 2022 to January 5 in 2023.