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Thomas Vanek

Winger Thomas Vanek is often regarded as one of the best Austrian-born players in the game. Native of Vienna, Vanek was born to Czech father Zdeněk (himself a pro hockey player with EC Zell am See) and Slovak mother Jarmila and grew up in Graz, where he began playing hockey. He moved at a young age to North America to improve his play - at 14, he flew to Canada to play midget AA, where he turned heads. In 1999, Vanek joined the Rochester Junior Americans of the North American Hockey League. After 14 games and 10 points, Vanek was promoted to the Sioux Falls Stampede, where he played three years, the last of which seeing him score 46 goals and tallied 91 points in 53 games.When Vanek left college, the National Hockey League was lock-outed, which retarded his entry into the big league, where he had been drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 2003. He joined the Rochester Americans and enjoyed a good first professional season, scoring 42 times and adding 26 assists in 74 games, good for second place among the team scorers, behind Chris Taylor. He could make his NHL debuts the following season. The transition was not easy in the first couple of weeks, but he eventually retrieved his scoring abilities and finished his rookie season with 25 goals and 23 assists. From then on, he litterally exploded in his second season, scoring an excellent 43 goals and 41 assists in 82 games. He was instrumental in the Sabres' long playoffs run that season.

From this point on however, Vanek's totals haven't stopped decreasing the following three seasons, with two 64 points and one 53 points efforts. While he reached the 40 goals plateau again in 2008-09, he could only get 28 goals (and 25 assists) in 71 games in a 2009-10 plagued with injuries.

Vanek represented Austria in international competitions in many occasions, including two World Championships (2004 and 2008).

EBEL 2010-11 teams
Flag of Austria Graz 99ers Flag of Austria EC KAC Flag of Austria Black Wings Linz
Flag of Austria Red Bull Salzburg Flag of Austria Vienna Capitals Flag of Austria Villacher SV
Flag of Slovenia Acroni Jesenice Flag of Slovenia Olimpija Ljubljana Flag of Hungary SAPA Fehérvár AV 19
Flag of Croatia Medveščak Zagreb
This is most probably the final look of the league for 2010-11, with the rumours involving the entry of HC Bolzano, Comarch Cracovia or EHC München ruled out.
Nationalliga 2010-11 teams
HC TWK Innsbruck Dornbirner EC Red Bull Salzburg II
FBI VEU Feldkirch EHC Lustenau EK Zell am See
EHC Bregenzerwald

Austrian Hockey News
April 4th: Red Bull Salzburg defeats Black Wings Linz 4-3 in overtime to clinch the EBEL title.
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Dornbirner EC
EHC Bregenzerwald
EHC Oberscheider Lustenau
KSV Ice Tigers
FBI VEU Feldkirch
EV Aicall Zeltweg
EK Zell am See
EHC Team Wien
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