Photo: Medicine Hat Tigers
Defenseman Dru Krebs, who the Washington Capitals drafted in the sixth round (pick #176 overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, is in the thick of training camp with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). However, he’ll pack his bags and head for Washington in the next day or so in order to participate in Washington Capitals “Rookie Camp”, set to start on Thursday.
Prior to departing for the States, Krebs was interviewed for the WHL website as part of the leadup to the opening of the WHL season. Krebs is expected to return to the Tigers for the 2022-23 season.
“I think we’re really excited. We have a lot to prove this upcoming season and I think it’s also great to see the future and what it has to hold for our organization when we have the prospects and all those guys coming up”
Krebs, who is entering his fourth and final season with the Tigers, is expecting to be more of a mentor in the Tigers’ dressing room this coming season.
“I think it comes quick. You don’t expect how quickly it’ll be especially with the whole Covid situation. I only got half of the season [during 2020-21] and most of the whole other guys. I think you adapt and change and being the leader all the way growing up with my minor hockey teams is an easy or easier change but is something to adapt to.”
Krebs has two older brothers, Dakota and Peyton, who have also played in the Western Hockey League, and who have been a good resource for him.
“Of course, if you have … great advice coming from them. I Facetime them all the time and yeah, they always have great advice for me and coming from their situation and experiences in the Western Hockey League and then other leagues as well. Sometimes it’s advice not regarding hockey [but] which can help my on-ice and off-ice attributes.”
[Note: His brother, Dakota, a fellow defenseman, was never drafted by an NHL team. Once he completed his junior hockey career, he started playing hockey at the University of Calgary. His other brother, Peyton, is a forward who was drafted by the Las Vegas Knights and currently plays with the Buffalo Sabres.]
Krebs, who played his entire junior hockey career with the Medicine Hat Tigers, praised the current coaching Medicine Hat staff, specifically Willie Desjardins, the Head Coach and General Manager, and Joe Frazer, the Associate Head Coach. The 2021-22 season was a rough season where the Medicine Hat Tigers finished in last place in the WHL Eastern Conference.
“…we’re a really hard-working team and we’re coming in with open minds. I think our coaching staff is an amazing coaching staff that really gets us motivated for the season. I think that’s something to really look forward to seeing how much we can improve over the course of a year and well two years compared to last year,” said Krebs.
“It brings a sense of calmness and directions towards the guys and having Willie who’s coached in the NHL and he’s coached championship teams and then Joe’s I think is on his 13th season with the Tigers. I think that really solidifies that they know their stuff and they know what it takes to be successful.”
Krebs worked on getting quicker and stronger this summer, ahead of the Tiger’s training camp, as well as this week’s Capitals rookie camp. Krebs not only worked on his physicality this summer, but also his overall mental approach.
“I think a huge one was my shot and, I think, the off-ice, the mentality part, being through a season where it was mentally struggling and being able to adapt and change and grow. I think that’s a huge part of my off-season and being able to adapt and be successful when sometimes things aren’t going your way,” added Krebs.
“I think 100%. I think at the next level that’s how you get there is the mentality aspect and I think hockey has really changed with that direction and being able to mentally see the mental part of the part of the game.”
Krebs said he is really looking forward to his return trip to Washington.
“I really enjoyed last year’s camp. I was able to go to the main camp as well and play with all those guys I looked up to growing up and having it around this year is going to be a special experience as well and having it so that there are no Covid restrictions and all that is going to be a really great experience.”
By Diane Doyle
By Diane Doyle
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Medicine Hat Tigers Web Site
Western Hockey League Web Site