Grabner Gives As Good As He Gets

Always a cheerful and charitable guy, Michael Grabner feels the love from his fans and his family

He doesn’t have the ability to speak, but Andrew Nielsen’s love for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their players was more than evident when Michael Graber met up with him.

It wasn’t a particularly long interaction, but for the two men, one a longtime fan, the other a relatively new member of the Maple Leafs, it was time well spent, a chance to have their picture taken together and a few autographs for Nielsen, who has cerebral palsy, to take home.

Soon after, a picture of Nielsen and Grabner appeared on the former’s Twitter page (retweeted by the latter), accompanied by the words: @grabs40 AWESOME meeting you! Thanks for the pic & autograph! 2 GOAL NIGHT! Way to go!

“It’s always nice to meet fans and interact with them,” said Grabner, who was traded to the Maple Leafs in September. “It’s great to see how happy you can make someone by just saying hello and chatting for a couple of minutes.”

Grabner certainly has plenty to be happy about on and off the ice.

On December 27, the 28-year-old scored a goal against the New York Islanders, his former team, in a 3-1 Maple Leafs road win.

It gets even better.

The tally was the 100th of his NHL career, one that began with the Vancouver Canucks in 2009-10.

There’s still more.

With the goal, Grabner became just the second Austrian-born player to reach the century mark in NHL goals (only Tomas Vanek has more).

The icing on the cake came via a Twitter picture (Heather Grabner ‏@HeatherLynn40 27 Dec 2015 #100thgoal #godaddygo #leafsvsislanders @grabs40) post from Grabner’s wife, Heather.

The photo shows the couple’s two young children donning Leafs jerseys with their father’s name on the back, looking adoringly at the television during Grabner’s post-game interview from the win over New York.

In this instance, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

“It was awesome to see them,” said Grabner. “My son is old enough now where he understands what's going on. He was happy to see me score and drew me a picture of my goal. My daughter is still too young, but it will be great to show her these pictures once she is older.”

Grabner was quick to give his wife a big assist.

“Heather is great,” he said. “Obviously, I have a busy schedule and everything, so she keeps things in check at home. It's not always easy dealing with me after a tough day at the rink, but after the years she has gotten pretty good at it.”

And Grabner is obviously pretty good at putting smiles on people’s faces, whether it happens to be at the rink or on the home front.