During the current lockout, many players have taken their talents to South Beac……..I mean Europe and Russia. This includes several Buffalo players like Ennis, Myers, Ehrhoff and Thomas Vanek. Vanek went back to his home country of Austria to play for the Graz 99ers, his hometown team, in the EBEL.
But, just prior to the mandatory hockey break the European leagues take, Vanek has decided to return to Buffalo to wait out the remainder of the negotiations with his teammates and family. Vanek played 11 games for the 99ers and scored 5 goals and 10 assists for a total of 15 points, 4 penalty minutes and a minus-3.
Vanek recently took to his blog, at thomasvanek26.com, to express his gratitude and explain his leaving:
“Time to say good-bye. I had a great month in Graz and want to thank the fans, the players and the officials. It was a blast playing these 11 games.
Of course, I would have liked to play more games, but the EBEL is a good league. That’s what I said before I played my first game here and I say it again now. There’s good, fast hockey played here in Austria. My decision to come to play here was the right one.
I really don’t know how things are going to unfold in the next weeks. First of all, I’m on my way back home to Buffalo and my family now. I missed Ashley and the kids a lot. I get asked if I’ll return after the international break all the time. That may well be, but certainly not right after the break. I want to wait how the negotiations between league and PA are going. It seems as if things are going forward a bit.
Also, it would be unfair to other players who I would take a roster spot away from, if I return to Graz, because the tryout-phase ends after November 12 and it’s not so easy anymore to change players.
What I certainly will not miss are the referees. Their performance was… well, let’s just say that I’d rather forget about them.
So, once again: thank you very much for your support. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I will never forget this month. Now it’s cross your fingers so we have NHL hockey back soon!”
Fingers have been crossed for quite some time my friend.