Olds Grizzlys defenceman Landan Viveiros will get to have the experience of a lifetime this December. Landan has been invited to play for Team Austria at the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championships Group B held in France on December 9-15, 2012.
Viveiros was born in Austria and lived there until the age of 16 when he decided to move to Canada and pursue his hockey career. “There was an opportunity to play Midget AAA in Alberta and I wanted to give it a try and see how it was.” said the AJHL veteran. So Landan packed his bags and flew overseas to suit up for the St. Albert Raiders Midget AAA program. The following season, Landan tried-out for the St. Albert Steel (now Whitecourt Wolverines) of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and made the team. The Olds Grizzlys seen potential in the young Austrian and picked him up in a trade this summer.
Viveiros and his Austrian teammates will be competing for Gold against Denmark, Belarus, Norway, Slovenia, and France in this year’s tournament. The Group B Championships will host a round robin format where they will play every team once with the winner moving on to Group A for the World Junior Hockey Championships next year in Malmo, Sweden. Landan has competed for his home country before winning the Gold Medal in the World U18 Junior Championships. “I think we have a pretty good chance at winning the Gold Medal this year. We have a really good team. Most of the team is comprised of the same players from the U18 team, just a few additions.”
But this tournament will be particularly special for Landan, who will get to play with his younger brother, Layne, who currently plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. “I am really excited for the tournament. I am looking forward to the experience and having the opportunity to play with my brother again.” said Viveiros. Hockey runs deep in the Viveiros family. Along with Landan and Layne, their father is currently the general manager for KAC, a professional team in Austria that competes in the Erste Bank EHL, and is also the head coach for the Austrian National Team. “Both my parents will be able to come and watch. It’s going to be great as they don’t get to watch me play very often.”
When asked about the difference between playing in his home country and Canada Landan said, “It’s great playing in Canada; it’s a lot of fun. It’s different hockey because the ice is smaller and the game is more physical. It’s a lot tougher here. Hockey is a growing sport in Austria and has really caught on the past few years. The atmosphere is a lot different. It’s much like a soccer game – the fans go crazy.” Other than Landan and his brother, the rest of his teammates play in junior leagues in Austria with a couple players who play pro in Sweden.
After his Junior career, Viveiros has aspirations to obtain a NCAA Division I scholarship and then continue to play professional hockey back in Europe. Just like the development program in Canada, this tournament will be a stepping stone and one day Landan dreams of playing for the Austrian National Team.
“I am looking forward to the experience of playing against teams from across the world and gaining international hockey experience. It’s going to be nice to see all the guys I used to play with and grew up with. Playing with my brother is going to be very special. I have not seen him in quite a few months. I will be able to take back with me playing in pressure situations and just the experience as a whole.” said Landan. “I am more excited than anything right now. I’m sure I will be more nervous when Sunday comes around and I start thinking about it more.”
Head Coach Brett Hopfe said, “This is a great opportunity for Landan. The Olds Grizzlys organization is extremely proud to have a player represented on this world stage. We wish Landan nothing but the best and hopes he come back with a Gold Medal around his neck.”
Landan will jump on a plane Sunday, December 2nd and fly to Austria where they will have a week-long camp before heading to Paris. The Olds Grizzlys wish Landan and Team Austria success in their pursuit of the Gold Medal. For more information, please contact the Grizzlys office at 403-556-1121.