Thread: Confirmed with Link: Sabres players playing during the lockout
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10-02-2012, 09:56 AM
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BUFFALO ó Itís just temporary for now. Thomas Vanekís contract with the Graz 99ers, a team in the wingerís native Austria, only runs until Nov. 4.

Nonetheless, Vanekís decision to return home during the lockout is already a big deal. Heís the first Austrian NHL player to sign a deal there.
According to an interview posted Monday on, Vanek chose the 99ers, a weak team in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, because he grew up in Graz and his parents still live there. His wife and three children will stay in Buffalo while heís overseas.
The 99ers feature a few former NHL players, including ex-Sabres defenseman Andy Delmore.

Vanekís contract expires when European leagues break for national teams.

Based on Vanek's earlier quotes of being reluctant to uproot his family by moving back to Europe, the short-term contract makes sense - although whatever conditioning and game-shape readiness he'll get from playing could be for nothing if the lockout ends near Christmas.

Hopefully, Delmore's work habits and great defensive skills won't rub off on Vanek.

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