You're Austria. You're not a hockey power. You're not going to medal. So why not take advantage of even the smallest measure of Olympic success to drink until sunrise?
After beating Norway to conclude the group stages on Sunday, the Austrian hockey team went out to dinner. They didn't return until six the next morning.
"I had no idea about it," coach Manny Viveiros said. "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."
Thirty-six hours later, the Austrians were flat in a 4-0 loss to Slovenia. A nation was incensed! The three NHLers on the team, Michael Grabner, Michael Raffl, and captain Thomas Vanek, released an open letter apologizing for their behavior—though maintaining it wasn't to blame for their loss. A rough translation:
"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...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."
The Austrian hockey federation released a statement acknowledging that it made a mistake naming Vanek captain, and saying it would soon release a full list of players who stayed out late.