By RYAN MCCRACKEN on September 7, 2019.
Dru Krebs has spent years studying what it takes to succeed in the Western Hockey League.
The Medicine Hat Tigers defensive prospect has watched brothers Dakota and Peyton handle the demands of a major junior career since he was 12. Now the 16-year-old Okotoks product is ready to put what he’s learned into practice by earning a spot on Medicine Hat’s roster for the upcoming season.
“Both my brothers have been such big role models in my life. It’s unreal to be able to follow them,” said Krebs, a 38th overall bantam draft pick. “They didn’t really say any huge tips here or there, but I think I know they’ve taught me throughout my life … Seeing them go through the process, it’s really allowed me to know what to expect.”
While they’ve been important figures in his hockey life, Krebs says he’s never had the chance to take on either 18-year-old Peyton or 20-year-old Dakota in a competitive fashion. That could all change with a spot on the roster this season, but even with a few open defensive spots on the roster, Krebs says he’s trying not to think that far ahead.
“I’m just focused right now on making the team but once that opportunity emerges I’ll really enjoy it,” said Krebs, whose brother Peyton captains the Winnipeg Ice, while Dakota is a blueliner with the Calgary Hitmen. “It’ll be a cool experience and I’ll savour that for the rest of my life.”
Peyton suffered a torn Achilles tendon during an on-ice training session in June, but still heard his name called by the Vegas Golden Knights as the 17th overall selection at the NHL entry draft later that month. While it’s been a difficult rehabilitation process, Krebs says it’s been inspiring to watch his older brother push through the pain on the road to recovery.
“As just a bystander towards it, you really respect how much work ethic he puts into it,” said Krebs. “A lot of guys, after they get injured they’ll just go on the couch or something. But Peyton is so determined and so focused that he’s constantly working and trying to get better. He’s going to rehab every day, he’s working out every other part of his body so he can stay at the pace everyone else is even though he’s without one leg.”
Krebs added there’s a lot he can take away from seeing such determination from his brother, especially if he wants to pair up against some of the biggest, strongest and fastest forwards the WHL has to offer this season.
“I’m only 5-foot-11 so I’m going to have to handle against guys who are like 6-foot-4, like my brother (Dakota), and really defend against those guys and box them out of the zone and everything,” he said. “I’m going to put as much work ethic and everything into every single game.”
The Tigers continue their pre-season campaign Saturday in Regina against the Pats at 7 p.m.