Former St. Louis Jr. Blues forward, Ryan Kretzer, signed a contract to play in the Central Hockey League this season. According to a release from the Riverkings:
The Mississippi RiverKings today (August 9th, 2010) announced they have signed rookie forward Ryan Kretzer for the upcoming 2010-11 CHL regular season. Kretzer becomes the seventh forward and tenth overall addition to the RiverKings’ roster for the upcoming season.
A speed merchant with the ability to score points and mix it up when necessary, RiverKings Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Kevin “Killer” Kaminski is looking forward to seeing what the 5-foot-7, 170 pound Kretzer can do on the ice. “Ryan is small in stature, but plays with grit, heart and passion,” Kaminski said. “He has wicked speed, good hockey sense and loves to play in traffic to score goals. I look forward to seeing what he can do at the professional level.”
Kretzer, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, starts his professional career after spending his amateur time with successful programs at Lincoln of the United States Hockey League (USHL), and in NCAA Division One action at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, formerly of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). Kretzer has also played one season of Junior “A” hockey with the Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
It was in Springfield where Kretzer led the Jr. Blues’ offense for the 2006-07 season, scoring a career-high 62 points (23 goals, 39 assists) to go with 91 penalty minutes. At the end of the season, Kretzer was named to the NAHL’s all-rookie team.
Going on to Lincoln the next year, Kretzer posted 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) in his first season (2007-08) for the Stars. Kretzer added five goals and nine points in eight playoff games as Lincoln reached the Clark Cup post-season semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Omaha in five games.
The next year (2008-09), Kretzer added a career-high 26 goals and a total of 48 points in 46 contests for Lincoln, while chipping in a goal, five points and six PIMS in seven post-season contests. The Stars won the USHL’s Western Division championship that year and again reached the Clark Cup semi-finals, as Kretzer led the team in goals and was second on the roster for points.
Kretzer finished his two-year stint with the Stars 11th on the all-time Lincoln career leader board with 106 points.
During the 2008-09 campaign, Kretzer earned USHL Player of the Week honors on January 6th, after scoring the game-winning goal and adding an assist in Lincoln’s 3-2 victory over Sioux Falls on New Year’s Eve, followed later in the week by a four-goal, five-point performance in a 6-2 victory over eventual league champion Indiana.
Kretzer appeared in 29 games with Nebraska-Omaha over the past two seasons, scoring seven assists for the Mavs.
Kretzer says he’s looking forward to the move to the Mid-South. “I hear good things about Southaven and the Mid-South and about the team, so I’m really excited," said Kretzer. “I also hear nothing but good things about Coach Kaminski and I hear that he likes to advance players on and I feel like it’s a good step for me to get into the pro ranks and prove myself.”