Austria is a heavy underdog as they face-off against defending champion Canada.
But the motherland of hockey has exported one of it's own to Austria. His name - Emanuel Viveiros. He was a star with the Prince Albert Raiders and briefly played in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars. He headed overseas to extend his career, and has never left.
Austria has never been much of a power in hockey. Only three players on their Olympic roster are from the NHL. But thanks in large part to Viveiros hockey in Austria is thriving, according to Chris Johnston in MacLean's magazine:
Today, he feels equal parts Austrian and Canadian, which will make next Friday’s preliminary round game between the countries an interesting experience. It’s something that both Ralph Krueger and Sean Simpson – the former and current Swiss national coaches – have done in the past, not to mention others like Dave Henderson (France), Rick Cornacchia (Italy), Ted Nolan (Latvia) and many more.
The Austrian program is currently riding a high under the guidance of Viveiros, especially after it edged out rival Germany in the Olympic qualifying tournament to earn a spot here. This is the first time since the 2002 Salt Lake City Games that the country has competed on the sport’s biggest stage.
Just three NHLers currently hold Austrian passports – Thomas Vanek, Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl will all compete in Sochi – but Viveiros believes others are knocking at the door. His biggest challenge has been building belief in a relatively small hockey nation.
Here's the full MacLean's article.