Michael Grabner is a twenty-four year old right wing for the New York Islanders. He was born on October 5th, 1987 (one day after my 6th birthday) in Villach, Austria. He began his playing career on his local team EC Villacher SV. He moved to the U.S. when he was only seventeen years old to play for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL. His road to the NHL began in 2006 when he was drafted with the 14th overall pick by the Vancouver Canucks. He played in the WHL one more year, spent two in the AHL and then bounced around between the Canucks and Florida Panthers before finally finding a home with the Islanders in 2010.
It should have been no surprise because he had been a highly prized player when he was drafted, but Grabner seemed to come out of nowhere in is first full NHL season. He scored 34 goals and added 18 assists in 76 games. Through 22 games this season, Grabner is tied for second in goals with 7 and his 11 points are the fifth most on the team.
Michael Grabner is more than just a gifted hockey player, though. He is also a young father.
Grabner answered some questions for TFL about his new born son, quality time with his family and having a fan who is always there for him.
Aidan – 7 months; girlfriend’s name – Heather
On having more time with his son right after he was born because it was the end of the season
Well, it was kind of towards the end (of the season). I think we had two games left after. It was kind of easy. He’s a pretty good kid so far. He slept six-seven hours the first night and he’s been sleeping through the night since then, so I got pretty lucky I guess. I didn’t have to get up too much so far.
On having the ability to be around for the first few months
It was good that we had him towards the end. You obviously see him change a lot in the first few months, so that was really nice to see. He has a lot more personality now. It’s great to live that. During the season, with two, three-week road trips, you miss a lot, so it’s nice to have been able to experience the summer with him. He’s getting big and time is flying by.
On the help of his girlfriend, Heather
My girlfriend, she’s doing pretty good. She takes care of him when I need rest, she lets me rest. She’s a full-time mother and that’s definitely helping me out a lot. I didn’t have to do too much so far. She’s done a great job, so that makes my life easier.
On the best part about being a father
Well, I have a boy. I always wanted a boy first. When you have a tough day at the rink or anywhere, and when you get home, he doesn’t care. He smiles at you; he knows who you are. It’s great. It definitely makes the day easier when you’ve had a tough day