If you mention Austrian hockey, the first name that comes to mind is most likely Thomas Vanek. The NHL All-Star long has given the country some hockey street credit, starting with his stellar career at the University of Minnesota. Yet, while Vanek might have accumulated the most headlines over his career, he is far from the only Austrian to make a dent in college hockey.
While he wasn’t the official first, Matthias Trattnig was the first Austrian import to really be a factor in the NCAA ranks. Growing up in Graz, Trattnig tried his hands at a few sports. His father had grown up in the state of Carinthia, which was home to two major Austrian hockey clubs: Klagenfurt and Villach. With fervor for the game in the region, Trattnig soon would get involved in the sport. It quickly became a passion, enough so that, at 15 years old, he crossed the pond to North America to pursue it further.
After some time playing in Canada and in the U.S. junior ranks, Trattnig decided that he wanted to pursue the college hockey path. The University of Maine appealed to him most.