Unlike in the past over his seven-year tenure with the Flyers, Michael Raffl has been able to enjoy some hockey in his native Austria during the months of November and December.
The time at home must have been a treat for Raffl, especially after he had spent a good chunk of the summer back in the United States and Canada for the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.
To get in work and stay ready during this atypical NHL offseason, Raffl was recently on loan to Villacher SV, an Austrian pro team in which he had played for prior to his NHL career. His loan consisted of four games as Raffl will be headed back to the Philadelphia area before an early-January Flyers training camp.
Raffl's time back in Austria was also a treat for his fellow homeland's hockey players. Along with his close friend Michael Grabner, Raffl was one of two players from Austria to play in the NHL last season. He's one of five Austrians to play in the league over the last 20 years and has appeared in the third-most NHL games of anyone from the country.
So you can imagine the thrill of Raffl joining a camp practice with the Austrian women's national team. Per a tweet on the IIHF's official Twitter account, Raffl surprised the team and took part in its skills practice Friday.
Very cool gesture by the 32-year-old Flyer.
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