PHOTO: The Draft Analyst
Peyton Krebs is taking things one day at a time.
The 18-year old out of Okotoks, Alberta has represented Canada each of the last two years in the U-17’s and in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and is now projected to be picked in the top 10 of this year’s NHL Draft. But he’s knows that there’s so much more to playing the game of hockey than individual successes.
“I’ve learned a lot this year,” Krebs said. “I have a group here that allows me to lead in the way that I like to, and that’s leading by example. I’m starting to get my groove here and helping the team as much as possible.”
Kootenay has struggled throughout much of this year, but Krebs has taken the season as a way to learn how to persist through difficulty.
“Team-wise we haven’t had the most success,” Krebs said. “It’s been a good learning year for me. A lot of ups and downs, but my main goal is to work hard each and every day, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m trying to focus on that and as long as I can do that, things will be brighter around the corner.”
Ranked No. 5 on Sam Cosentino’s most recent draft rankings, Cosentino pointed to Krebs’ competitiveness and leadership as a key factor in deciding where he will be taken this June. Krebs says that comes from a group of people who are very close to his heart.
“That comes from having three siblings,” Krebs said. “We’re all very competitive. I actually like to tell a story about going on walks with my mom, and she’s really competitive too. Whenever we go on walks, she has to walk in front of me, it’s pretty funny, we’re always trying to get better, and help each other though. It’s a huge part of why I’m so competitive and starting to live out the dream.”
Learning to be professional at an early age is required of hockey players more so than other athletes in other sports and Krebs feels that has benefited him greatly.
“Not many people at the age of 16 have the chance to have that experience meeting important people, learning how to talk to people, learning how to give a proper handshake,” Krebs said. “I’m very fortunate to be in this position and I want to make the most of it.”
Krebs said one person in particular was a role model for him in his journey to where he is today.
“My dad was a major part in that,” explained Krebs. “He’s a person I’ve always looked up to. He just wanted us to pursue our dreams and whatever passions we had. He gave us the tools to do it and have fun with. He’s probably been the most influential person in my career.”
The dreams not only include being selected in the upcoming draft but also having the chance to represent his country in the World Juniors.
“It’s something that you dream of as a kid, watching World Juniors with my family and dreaming of one day being able to put that Maple Leaf on. The first time I ever got to represent Canada was in the U-17s. You put that jersey on and you look around smiling because that’s been a dream of yours for a while, and now you’re here doing it. It’s something I won’t forget for a long time.”
Krebs understands the expectations for success from Canadian team supporters, but also knows where the passion from fans comes from.
“There’s definitely a bit of added pressure, yeah,” Krebs said. “It’s disappointing when we don’t have success, but as long as we are working the hardest we can, that’s all we can do. Hockey is a huge part of Canada’s identity and is certainly something you want to do well in. We’ve had some good teams in the past and hope that we can continue to do that and have success in the future.”
Having recently played in the Sherwin Williams game in Red Deer, Krebs said that opportunity was something he had wanted to be selected for for quite some time.
“That was another moment where I got to check something off of my list of things that I wanted to do,” Krebs said. “I was fortunate enough to go and see Aaron Ekblad play in that game a while ago, so getting to play in that game was really special for me, and it made me more motivated to come back and play well. If you want to be the best you have to play against the best, and that game was certainly that.”
Hockey teaches many lessons, none of which have been lost on Krebs.
“It has taught me how to how to work for what you want,” Krebs said. “Hockey is one of those things that if you work for it, you can get it. You can strive to get wherever you want to get to. If you work your hardest at whatever you want to pursue, you can do well with it and make a living with it. I’m having so much fun with it, I love playing hockey, and making new friendships. It’s not something that many people get to experience and I’m very fortunate to get to do it.”
Video: Hockey Prospects Center