Junior scorer Greg Kraemer leads charge for Chartiers Valley hockey

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Sunday, February 7, 2021 | 11:17 AM


What does it mean to be coachable?

Chartiers Valley hockey coach Paul Bonetti offers his definition while describing the Colts’ leading scorer, Greg Kraemer.

“Generally speaking, most high school kids are difficult to coach and their attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter,” Bonetti said. “This can lead to blown assignments or a lack of attention to detail that can drive a coach crazy.

“With Greg, I don’t have to worry about that. He is always first in line at practice to demonstrate how to correctly do drills when some players might be confused, and when we work on specific plays or systems, he generally doesn’t need to be corrected. On the rare occasion that his play requires alteration, he accepts change and implements it into his game.”

There hasn’t been a lot of tweaking needed to Kraemer’s game as he has been ranked in the top 10 in points in the PIHL’s Class A all season.

“I try to lead by example,” Kraemer said. “We all push each other hard in practice, knowing it will pay off on game day. Coach Bonetti always expects a lot from me, both in practice and in games, so I work hard to be a leader and a good example for our younger teammates.”

So far, so good as the Colts began February in first place in the Class A Southwest Division.

Kraemer has more assists than goals, which plays to his strength.

“I think I’m a good playmaker,” Kraemer said. “I have good puck control and see the ice well. I try to create scoring chances for my linemates, and I’ve even been finishing better myself too.”

Bonetti agrees with his star junior.

“Greg’s puck possession skills are superior to a majority of his peers in our league,” he said. “Many times, players will want to dump or chip a puck or perhaps make an ill-advised pass, but Greg has a knack for understanding game situations and taking an extra beat to slow the game down, assess options and make a more advanced play.”

While his high school team only played three games in January, Kraemer enjoys the benefits of playing travel hockey as well to keep his skill refined and get more ice time while playing during a pandemic.

“Luckily I play for the Predators too, so I’ve been able to stay sharp with the practice time I’m getting on both teams,” Kraemer said. “It’s been harder this year, but I’ve been with my linemates, Jackson Fodor and Tommy Phillips, since middle school, and we work really well together. We have a lot of senior experience this year too.”

Kramer is only a junior but has shown great leadership skills in helping the Colts to a 7-0-1 record into February.

“Greg was selected as assistant captain by his teammates, so that tells me that the team looks up to him,” Bonetti said. “Greg isn’t going to stand up and give a fiery speech to get the team motivated, but he’s funny, charismatic and never quits. In that sense, he sets an example for the rest of the team.

“A specific example is earlier in the year we were losing by two goals late in a game and we were killing off a 5-on-3 penalty. Greg is on the ice, works the penalty kill in our end of the ice, steals the puck, goes the other way and scores a short-handed goal while being worked over by an opposing defenseman. He cuts the lead to one and then we wind up coming all the way back to win with seven seconds remaining. Without that level of effort showing the rest of the team that we weren’t dead yet, we probably lose that game. That is leading by example.”

Moments like that have the confidence mounting for the Colts, who are searching for a deep playoff run for the first time in several years.

“From our first day of drylands, our goal has been to win the Penguins Cup,” Kraemer said. “We have Coach Bonetti, some strong skaters and with (Logan) Marnik in net, I know we’re going to make a run at it.”

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