The 1st Overall Pick in the WHL Bantam Draft is...

By Tyler Hinds, master of the backhand slap shot (@THinds3)

With the 1st overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, the Kootenay Ice are proud to select...

Okotoks, Alberta is a young growing suburb located approximately 18 km south of Calgary. This bedroom community of Calgary has a rough population of 30,000 inhabitants and is best known for it’s thriving youth sports. Okotoks Minor Hockey Association (OMHA), being one of the many youth sport organization, has over 1,400 players making it one of the largest associations in Alberta.

Just last week, OMHA produced it’s first ever 1st overall selection in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. Peyton Krebs, son of Greg & Cindy, was drafted by the Kootenay Ice after putting up over 102 points in just 27 games with the Rocky Mountain Raiders Bantam AAA squad.

This regional AAA squad attracts the top 13 & 14-year-old players from Okotoks, Strathmore, Chestermere, Indus, High River, High Country, Nanton & several other smaller communities. Coached by Mickey Kluner, he is not surprised about Peyton’s recent success: "I've coached in this league for 6 years and seen many elite players go on to succeed at the next level. Peyton easily ranks among the top of that echelon. The second he steps on the ice, he commands the puck and controls the game with his vision and speed".

Krebs, listed at 5’11” 164 lbs., is a player described as one with the ability to execute his high level of skill at top speed. Dedicated and a leader, Krebs is driven to be the best and has always worn a letter on his sweater. It was also noted that he is still very responsible defensively despite his soaring offensive numbers. It isn't a shocker why he was selected as the top 14-year-old player in the WHL catchment area.

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While Peyton’s skill is exceptional, the continued success of the association has been a product of on going development efforts that were put in place nearly a decade ago. Jamie Steer, Operations Coordinator for OMHA, believes that it is coach mentorship that has made the biggest difference.

Steer explains, “It starts with the development of our coaches. Since the association started offering coach mentorship, we have seen our graduating players achieve higher levels of hockey than ever before. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have some excellent coaches like Kevin Kobelka, Mickey Kluner, Greg Krebs, & Ted Stewart”.

Some other recent notable players to emerge from their association are Dakota Krebs, older brother of Peyton playing with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, & Matthew Forchuk, leading scorer of the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles.

 

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