Team Austria squandered their opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals when they lost a knockout round game to Slovenia (Slovenia!), 4-0, on Tuesday. Neither team was supposed to make the quarterfinals, but Austria was arguably the favorite to advance and play Sweden. A possible explanation for the loss? The team’s late-night, early-morning partying Sunday into Monday, led by none other than Flyers forward Michael Raffl. EuroHockey.com reports:
There were discussions after Austria’s weak and often helpless performance against Slovenia in the quarterfinal qualification of the men’s ice hockey tournament at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi on Tuesday. The answer might be an easy but shocking one. After a 3-1 win against Norway to end group B on the 3rd spot on Sunday a group of players celebrated way too heavy. Until up to 6 am the players hung out drinking In the Austria House and a local club in Krasnaya Polyana.
Viveiros who trusted his team fully and who didn’t want to babysit them as they are grown men and professional athletes added: “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.”
It is not yet clear how many players were involved but Viveiros let no doubt that “there will be consequences” and “we will publish their names in the next days.”
Viveiros is especially disappointed by Thomas Vanek who he made team captain. According to ÖEHV (Austrian Ice Hockey Federation) president Dieter Kalt: “He also chose Vanek as team captain to have an experienced player and this obviously went wrong”. The star forward of the New York Islanders and his NHL colleagues Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl apologized in a letter for their behaviour.
Asked about the direct impact of the drinking night for the Slovenia match Viveiros said: “This was our fourth game in the last seven days against three teams who are among the best in the world. This costs a lot of energy. We only had a small training before the match against Slovenia because regeneration is so important.”
Raffl partying at Austria House? Gives a whole new meaning to Raffl House: