Bantam Oilers duo land all-star nod
Hockey: Okotoks' Kai Uchacz, Dru Krebs to suit up for Team South
Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 06:00 am
The captain and the minute-munching defenceman are set to shine.
Centre Kai Uchacz and blueliner Dru Krebs will fly the Okotoks Bantam AAA Oilers flag this week as members of Team South at the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League All-Star Game Jan. 13 in Grande Prairie.
“Kai and Dru definitely deserve to go,” said Oilers head coach Mike Glawson. “Not only their leadership, but their on-ice play. They’ve really committed and bought into being the hardest working guys every night and it shows in their play on the ice, their offensive capabilities, but they’ve committed to the defensive side of the puck as well.”
Both skaters and the head coach were key cogs in the Okotoks Bantam AA Oilers league and provincial championship double last season. They’ve made the leap to AAA hockey while adding considerable responsibilities in leadership.
“Last year at the AA Bantam level they were both dominant hockey players,” the coach added. “But maybe weren’t as big of leaders as what they are this year, they didn’t have to take on that leadership because we had some second years that did that.”
Krebs, the third member of his family behind older brothers Dakota and Peyton to play for the AAA Oilers, will be the first of his siblings to suit up for Team South. The dynamic defenceman has five goals and 13 points on the campaign.
“It’s pretty special being recognized as one of the top players in southern Alberta,” Krebs said. “I know my brothers also didn’t get to go and I really want to cherish the opportunity.”
Uchacz is tied for second in the league with 19 goals and ranks in the top-15 with 32 points in 23 games.
“It’s been lots of hard work, being committed and leading by example, using my speed and shooting the puck,” he said. “It’s a great experience to have coming up, to be selected means a lot. Lots of people could have been selected.”
Oilers centre Connor Poffenroth, scoring at a nearly goal-per-game rate, is an alternate on the all-star roster.
“He’s one of the leading goal scorers and for him to not be there probably is a bit of a tough pill to swallow,” Glawson said. “Unfortunately because of where we’re sitting in the standings we’re only allowed to send two (players). I would have liked to see us move up a couple spots in the standings and have three or four.”
Following a challenging start to the season the Oilers have been steadily rising, posting a 6-1-1 record since late November in what’s proven to be a stacked Ram South Division.
“Early on in the season the problem was the kids weren’t 100 per cent sure what it took to compete as this level on a nightly basis,” Glawson said. “Even for my provincial championship kids from last year, this is a big jump. Bringing it every night and knowing you have to compete for every shift, we struggled with that the first couple of months.
“We had a really good talk with the kids in November and got on a bit of a roll and when you get on a roll you gain some confidence.”