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Son of Former Tennis Pro, Austria's Sam Antonitsch Lives for Hockey

By Peter Karlick, 01/05/16, 11:15AM EST


The resemblance to Papa Alexander can not deny Sam Alec Antonitsch. Sits serenely the 19 year old at the COURIER interview alongside his biggest supporters and his biggest supporter, the former tennis pro, current tournament organizer and television commentator.


Photo: / Juda NgwenyaAlexander Antonitsch with Thomas Muster
Sam is part of that under-20 ice hockey team, the last week, the audience enthusiastic at the U20-B-WM in the Schultz-Halle and surprised with victories over the joint favorites Norway and Germany. Place behind promoted Latvia was the reward. Antonitsch who had fought for a place in the team until training camp, came up with the good statistics from three goals and an assist.


"For me it was the first World Cup. If you still get to play at home this, that's a great honor. Something very special," says the striker in a team of Swiss Head Coach Roger Bader. The special thing about the team was not the great talent of individual players, but the cohesion. "From the heart we were sure a top nation in this tournament. We also have very talented players, but they also make the dirty work for others. Everyone submits to the other in a shot. The right team spirit in this squad," emphasizes Sam Antonitsch.


Nervous and funny

Sam Antonitsch ...

Photo: / PrivateSam with his sister Mira and his motheron the bleachers was feverish with Father Alexander (49): "I'm always nervous when I my daughter (NB .: the 17-year-old Mira) in tennis or my son in ice hockey zuschaue. Both find that funny. "


With his colleagues Sam was promoting young Austrian hockey player and appeals to those responsible in the Erste Bank Liga: "Perhaps someone thinks times about it, instead of giving a foreigner a young Austrian from this team a chance."


The performance of 18- and 19-year-olds was for Alex Antonitsch also a consequence of the professionalization of the Austrian Association: "It is to play a great honor for the guys you know a Christoph Brandner, a Reinhard Divis, a Markus Peintner (Note.. Assistant coach), and they know what has already achieved a Roger Bader in Switzerland (note he was .: Ascent Switzerland to Top-8 nation involved).


It all began for Sam everything at Vienna Heumarkt. Then Alexander founded with partners the Vienna Tigers: "We have set up money so the children could play more than only November to February." The Tigers had enormous popularity - partly because they promised good youth coach.


Talents Forge

Sam, Alex Antonitsch ...

Photo: / privatemother Karin Oberleitner, St. Pölten-graduate Sam and Father AlexanderThe next step was the Canadian Hockey Academy Okanagan in St. Pölten.From there come some of these talents WM-generation. Also U20 captain and Salzburg pro Florian Baltram enjoyed the school and athletic training.For Father Alexander, the school was the basic condition: "For my wife and me is important that our children really want it, because we know what to expect You have to want our deal was:... First, the school and then comes' Live Your Dream '. Everything just to put on ice hockey or tennis, has never been an issue. "


If he sees Sam with colleagues celebrating a victory at a World Cup, the father feels satisfaction: "You can take it no more Many 19-year-old have not experienced since I feel confirmed me that we for years at the weekend.. are by 4 clock got up early in the and went to play in Slovakia. "


Meanwhile, Sam is playing in the junior league USPHL. This is one of three US top leagues. Many college players come from there. His team is Okanagan Europe. A team is allowed to attend the prestigious League also thanks to the support of the Austrian Association. Players live the entire season at the hotel. And the cost? Alex Antonitsch says with a smile: "The main sponsors are the parents." That was in the Okanagan Academy in St. Pölten already like that. The opponents in the USPHL hot Bruins, Flyers, Rangers or Islanders. From the NHL Sam does not want to talk but. Not yet: "I definitely want to a good college then everything else depends on my development there.."


NHL hardness


Contacts with NHL players already existed last summer. In St. Pölten was a skating coach who invited me in the summer to America. . Because I can play with some NHL players such as the Canadian Olympic medalists Price and Weber or star striker Heatley in Kelowna "work how hard the NHL stars in itself, Sam began to feel even one's own body:" allowed during strength training we work together with with Milan Lucic. After warming up we gelaubt that it is already made. It has only then begun so right. "