Austria announced its Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Tuesday with former Gopher and current New York Islander Thomas Vanek headlining the squad.
Vanek will make his Olympic debut this year with Austria, which has qualified for the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002. The forward has previously represented his home country on the 2004, 2005 and 2009 Austrian National Teams as well as the Austrian National Junior Team at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championships.
With Vanek's roster spot locked up, the Gophers now have four former players skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics -- Paul Martin, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler will skate for the U.S. National Team. Additionally, former Gopher All-American and current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's program while Hobey Baker Award winner Robb Stauber will serve as the goaltenders coach for the U.S. women's team.
Gopher Hockey has sent a representative to every Winter Olympics since 1936 with six representatives in 2014 serving as the most since the 'U' sent six players to Sarajevo in 1984.
The men's ice hockey competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi runs from Feb. 13-13.