The Austrian national hockey team surprised everyone — themselves included — when they defeated Norway in the final game of group play at the Winter Olympics. The win came on the heels of an 8-4 loss against Finland and 6-0 loss to Canada, so you can understand why the team was excited. In hindsight, the Austrians probably could have taken the celebration down a notch.
According to EuroHockey.com, the Austrians went out partying after beating Norway 3-1 and did not return until 6:00 a.m. Less than two days later, they were knocked out of the tournament with a 4-0 loss to Slovenia. Austria head coach Manny Viveiros said he was stunned by his team’s behavior.
“We had a real chance to reach the quarterfinals I don’t know why this happened, especially before what is most likely the most important game for modern era Austrian ice hockey,” Viveiros said Wednesday. “It was a shock what happened after the game against Norway. I had no idea about it. I was shocked. We knew the players went there (Austria House) to eat something. But it was planned that they return to their rooms right afterwards.”
Viveiros said the names of the players who took part in the drink-a-thon will be published and “there will be consequences.” The Austrian team featured three NHL players — Michael Grabner, Michael Raffl and captain Thomas Vanek. They released a letter apologizing for their behavior, which was translated by Deadspin.
“We know that this behavior is not a professional one, yet we think this did not influence our performance against Slovenia in any way or form, the disappointing team effort was the reason for the loss,” the NHLers wrote. “We are aware of our role as role models and should have moved the celebrations to the evening after our last tournament play…
“We are at the end of the day just people who make mistakes, and we want to sincerely apologize for the negative impression that may have arisen in the public.”
Austrian Ice Hockey Federation president Dieter Kalt added that Viveiros’ decision to choose Vanek as captain to have an experience player leading the way “obviously went wrong.”
We have heard plenty of stories about the, ahem, fun activities that take place in the Olympic Village, but rarely do we hear about athletes partying so hard that it may have affected their performance. You drink the booze, you lose.Google+