Vanek to captain Austria Olympic team

The Islander's star forward will play in his first Olympic Games in February.

Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 10:31 AM ET / News
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Vanek to captain Austria Olympic team
The Islander\'s star forward will play in his first Olympic Games in February.
Vanek became the highest-drafted Austrian-born player when he was selected fifth overall in the 2003 NHL draft.

Thomas Vanek will be the captain for Austria's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The announcement was made Tuesday by Austria coach Manny Viveiros.

"Vanek is a star player for us and also in the NHL," Viveiros said. "That's enough to make him captain. He is a role model for all young players in Austria."

The 30-year-old New York Islanders forward became the highest-drafted Austrian-born player in NHL history when the Buffalo Sabres selected him with the fifth pick of the 2003 NHL Draft.

Vanek has 19 goals and 47 points in 52 games this season with the Sabres and Islanders. In 637 NHL games with Buffalo and New York he has 269 goals and 535 points.

This will be Vanek's first Olympic appearance. He has played for Austria three times at the World Championships, in 2004, 2008 and 2013.

Thomas Koch, who captained Austria at the 2012 and 2013 World Championships and also at the 2013 Olympic qualifying tournament, will be an alternate captain, along with Matthias Trattnig. Both play professionally in Austria.

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