Personal Information about Vanek
Born - January 19, 1984
Hometown - Graz, Austria
Jersey # - 26
Position - Forward
Height - 6'2"
Weight - 207 pounds
Son of Zdenek and Jarmila Vanek
Graduate of O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Played three seasons with Sioux Falls of the USHL before going to U of M
Hobbies - Soccer and golf
Interview with Thomas
Modest as always, you are known for your quiet nature, right?
TV: Yes that's likely true. At least I have never made much ado about myself.
Thats what other people do for you by now. Did you know that your fans in Austria have organized on the internet to collect votes to get you to the All-Star game?
TV: Yes I have noticed that. It is something that has made me very happy and I was postively surprised. It is a nice recognition.
TV: There are many inquiries about signatures and more and more requests for interviews. Sometimes that can be stressful because you answer the same questions over and over every day, but I try to take my time for everybody.
Speaking of Austria: There are rumors you are already a citizen of the US or at least a double citizen (US and Austria)
TV: I have no idea where that is coming from. I am Austrian, I live here with a normal work visa. The one thing I would like to have is a green card which would save me a lot of running around to get my visa. But even if I would become a dual citizen, because I want to live in America, I will never give up the Austrian citizenship. And I will always play for the Austrian national team exclusively.
And the NHL? Always Buffalo or is there a favorite team you would like to get traded to sometime?
TV: At the moment I am simply happy that my dream of playing in the NHL has come true. No matter where. Maybe later in my career I would enjoy playing in Minnesota because I have built a house there and all my friends and my girlfriend lives there. But I have no dream club.
Thomas' Life in BuffaloFrom the city center it takes around 15 minutes to get to Williamsville, a suburb of Buffalo. That is where Austria's NHL-Export Thomas Vanek lives. Parked at the driveway is a big Cadillac-Jeep and once you open the front door you will be greeted instantly by "Diesel". He pants happily and when he jumps he almost gets up to your knees. Diesel is a Shi-Tzu, explains Vanek, and the Styrian's companion since 8 months ago. [Styria is the region of Austria where Thomas hails from]
"I have had a dog since I have been a kid, I have grown up with dogs." says Vanek and adds:" He is not always here, my girlfriend takes him with her to Minnesota sometimes." If there is no time to watch the dog the neighbor's wife will take care of Diesel. That would be the girlfriend of fellow sabre Ales Kotalik who lives right next door. Just like defenseman Brian Campbell and forward Jason Pominville - a real hockey settlement.
The two story house was bought a year and a half ago by Vanek, even though he already has one in Minnesota. "Should I play somewhere else at some point I will simply sell it. That is no problem in the USA. And real estate value is rising at the moment," clarifies Vanek. All the furnishing has been done together with girlfriend Ashley. "Who else should have done it? In the NHL no club is helping you with something like this, they will not look for an apartment for you. You have to do everything by yourself," says the 23 year old.
Taking matters into his own hands he also has nobody to clean for him. "Most of the time I am alone so there is not much to clean up," says an NHL-Star who washes and irons his laundry, just like he is used to doing since his college days. And he also cooks "Pasta, grill some meat - that's enough." He seems to have talent as houseman, everything is super clean, nothing is lying around. Neither in front of the chimney nor on the black leather sofa or the light gray sofa chairs. The kitchen which is connected to the living room without any separation has also been cleaned top notch.
Thomas proudly presents his pumpkin seed oil reserve, which his parents are keeping updated all the time - he has just stayed a real Styrian. But there is a price for the "pumpkin seed oil pipeline". Vanek doesn't have a showcase or something similar for his trophies. "If I won something my parents have always taken it with them to Graz. That's ok with me, I don't need the stuff anyway right now - maybe I will get it back sometime later."
"There is only time during the summer for my hobbies golfing and fishing, during the season there is no time at all for either." Cinema, going out for dinner or watching movies at home (over 100 dvds are stored next to the TV set) thats all the sins the young star has. Really? "Well, I am playing a lot of Xbox, mostly Tiger Woods Golf or war strategy games," reveals Vanek. Going out in the evenings is a rarity and he doesn't really miss it either:" I have made my hobby of playing hockey to my job, I don't need anything else."Except his girlfriend Ashley who comes to visit around every other week. His parents only pay rare visits, mostly only twice a year. The rest of the time he is alone with Diesel.
IS it boring sometimes? "Ok, Buffalo is not NYC, Boston or Chicago, it doesn't have as many attractions or sightseeing. Downtown Buffalo is also not the greatest. But I still get everything I need to live well. You can go out to eat well, the people are always friendly and are happy if they can pat you on the back when you are shopping, however they are never pushy - I really enjoy living in Buffalo."