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Michael René Grabner (born October 5, 1987) is an Austrian professional ice hockey player playing for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL). Grabner grew up playing for the local team in Villach, EC VSV. He moved to North America at the age of 17 and joined the Spokane Chiefs of the major junior Western Hockey League (WHL) to further his hockey career. After his second season with the Chiefs, he was selected 14th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Grabner played one more season in the WHL before moving to the American Hockey League (AHL), where he has played two seasons in the Canucks' farm system. He was traded during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the Florida Panthers, but was claimed by the Islanders after Florida placed him on waivers with the intention of assigning him to their AHL affiliate.

Grabner is one of three Austrians in the NHL (and the only one who began his playing career in Austria); the others, Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres and Andreas Nodl of the Philadelphia Flyers, both played junior and collegiate hockey in the United States.

Born in Villach, Grabner began playing hockey at the age of five. He joined his EC VSV's junior team, scoring 10 points over 13 games in 2002–03. The following year, he improved to 32 goals and five assists over 23 games, while also debuting with EC VSV's men's team in the Austrian Hockey League. In the subsequent off-season, he was selected 22nd overall by the Spokane Chiefs in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft. Grabner believed that playing major junior in North America would help his goal of making it to the NHL. He had been exposed to Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz through a connection with his head coach in EC VSV, Greg Holst.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Michael Grabner."
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