Krebs set to take on World U-17 Challenge
Hockey: Okotokian to wear maple leaf for first time Nov. 5-12 in B.C.
Wednesday, Nov 01, 2017 06:00 am
Another milestone in a laundry list will be an Okotokian’s first chance to wear the maple leaf.
Kootenay Ice centre Peyton Krebs makes his red-and-white debut this week as one of 66 Canadians taking to the ice in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.
“Like anyone when you make a team like that at a high class it’s pretty special,” said Krebs, the first-overall pick in the 2016 WHL Draft. “When I got that call it’s no different than any guy whether you’re on the bubble or not and it was a pretty cool feeling.
“It’s cliché, but it has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid watching the 2010 Olympics and Sidney Crosby win that gold medal. Since then I’ve dreamed of putting that maple leaf on.”
Team Canada is divided into three squads for the competition with Krebs landing on the Canada Red roster, one that includes fellow first overall draft picks in Barrie Colts forward Ryan Suzuki and Rimouski Oceanic Alexis Lafrenière.
“Our roster is super exciting,” Krebs said. “We’ve got a lot of talent up front and on the D.
“Canada is very strong and they want to develop as many players as they can into great players and doing three teams kind of does that. In past years we’ve been very successful doing that and I don’t think that’s any different this year.”
Canada most recently won the tournament in 2015 and has medalled in three of the last four competitions.
The 16-year-old enters the competition having helped the rebuilt Ice skate to a .500 record through the first 15 games of the season. Kootenay revamped its organization from top-to-bottom in the off-season with new ownership, management and new bench boss James Patrick.
“It has been very exciting. Cranbrook and the Kootenay Ice are coming together pretty good,” Krebs said. “It’s a new Ice age, they’ve been around for a long time the Kootenay Ice, but it’s something new and exciting here and the team is having some good success off the start here.
“There is a few struggles here and there, but we will work out those kinks and by the end of the year be a top notch team.”
Krebs got a cup of coffee with the Ice last season as an underager and trained for his first full season in the Dub armed with the know-how of what to expect as a freshman.
Playing primarily with veteran Colton Veloso, Switzerland’s Gillian Kohler and fellow CFR Chemicals Bisons alumnus Colton Sheen, the Okotokian sits second on the team with 13 points in 15 games and ranks fifth among all first-year skaters in the league in that category.
“Going into this season, this summer I knew what to train for, what to do to be successful in this league,” he said. “I’m not going to stop with that passion, that drive to work hard and get better every day.”
That drive will be evident on the ice this week in Northern British Columbia.
The World U-17 Hockey Challenge gets underway Nov. 5 as Canada Red clash with Team Finland.
The event is a stepping stone for many of the top hockey players in the world on the road to the NHL Draft.
There are over 1,600 NHL draft picks who played in the tournament, including 13 of the past 16 first-overall selections.
For more information go to hockeycanada.ca