Christian Kunast will be head coach of Germany's women's ice hockey team from January 1, charged with reaching the Beijing 2022 Games ©IIHF

Christian Kunast, currently head coach of the German men's under-20 ice hockey team, will take over as the women's head coach next year with the "unconditional goal" of getting them to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. 

The German Ice Hockey Association has also announced that long-time women's national team player Franziska Busch will serve as the new head coach of the under-18 women's side.

Kunast, who is due to take over his new post on January 1, will continue to coach the under-20 national team until the end of the year, including at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Under-20 World Championship Division I Group A on home ice in Fussen from December 9 to 15.

He will replace Benjamin Hinterstocker, who has been in charge of the women's team for the past four seasons.

"After almost four years as junior coach I'm looking forward to my new tasks at the women's national team," Kunast said.

"Over the past years we have created a philosophy and structure in the men's and junior area.

"We want to implement and develop them within the existing structures of the women's national team."

Kunast was a professional goaltender in the German league for many years, winning one championship with the Munich Barons in 2000.

He was also on the roster of the national team several times and got ice time at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and the 2001 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

In 2007 he retired with the Hannover Scorpions and started his coaching career there at the same time.

He has worked as coach of the national men's under-20 team since 2015.

Long-time international Franziska Busch has been appointed head coach of the German women's under-18 team ©IIHF
Long-time international Franziska Busch has been appointed head coach of the German women's under-18 team ©IIHF

Busch, whose appointment has been agreed until the end of the season, joined the women's coaching staff last year as an assistant coach and replaces Tommy Kettner, who was coaching the youth team during the past three seasons.

Busch has already served as head coach at the recent Four Nations tournament in Bad Tolz.

She represented Germany in eight IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship tournaments - six in the top Division - and two Winter Olympics before becoming a youth coach.

During the summer she took part in the coach development programme at the 2018 IIHF Women's High-Performance Camp in Finland.

"The change and realignment in the women's hockey area for the new Olympic cycle comes in huge steps," said German Ice Hockey Association President Franz Reindl.

"We are very happy to have an experienced and motivated women's national team coach with Christian Kunast and with Franziska Busch a young and newly educated under-18 women's national team coach for the upcoming important and difficult tasks.

"Our women's national teams have to stand their ground in the world and the participation in Beijing 2022 is the unconditional goal."

The Association's sport director, Stefan Schaidnagel, added: "Christian Kunast convinced us with his concept and vision for German women's ice hockey as did Franziska Busch with her perfectly complementing direction for the under-18 national team.

"Both are well educated, have experience at the international level and want to actively shape the positive development of women's hockey."

Germany finished the last IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship in 2017 in fourth place but missed out a spot at Pyeongchang 2018 in the deciding qualification game against Japan.

At the 2019 IIHF Women's World Championship in Espoo in Finland, which will take place for the first time with 10 teams, Germany will play in the "lower" Group B with Sweden, Japan, the Czech Republic and France and battle for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, at under-18 level Germany were relegated last year and will seek a return to the top level at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group A in Radenthein, Austria, from January 7 to 13.

Germany, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Denmark will participate in the tournament.