Thomas Vanek (born January 19, 1984) is an Austrian professional ice hockey left winger, an alternate captain for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL). Vanek was drafted by the Sabres fifth overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, making him the highest draft pick in Austrian history. Vanek was born in Baden bei Wien, Austria, to Slovak mother Jarmila and father Zdenk, who moved in 1982 from Czechoslovakia to Austria. He grew up in Zell am See (Salzburg) and in Graz (Styria), where his father played professional ice hockey. He moved in 1998, at age 14, to the United States, where he attended and graduated from O'Gorman High School while playing junior hockey for the Sioux Falls Stampede. Vanek is married to his longtime girlfriend Ashley. They have three sons, Blake Thomas and twins Luka Robert and Kade Ashton. They also have a dog named Diesel.
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