As summer comes to an end, hockey players from around the world are preparing for the 2011-12 season. Former Jr. Blues forward Kyle Kraemer is no different. Part of the preparation came in the form of a Silver medal at the World Inline Championships. Kraemer skated with fellow alumni J.P. Beilsten and Shawn Gawrys.
Kraemer found a lot to be thankful for in his inaugural professional season but it wasn't without its trials either. Saýs Kraemer, "I did alright could've done better. To me [last] season was a roller coaster. I came to Ontario after being sent down from Manchester (AHL) with a lot of confidence and started playing really well in preseason and the first two weeks of the season."
But after a quick start he found his first bit of adversity. He says, "A cheap hit tore my MCL that sidelined me for 18 games." Having never had a serious injury he found he had to balance his desire to get back on the ice with making sure his knee was strong enough to play on without doing further damage. "I rehabbed it all the time and tried to get back to the ice asap," he says.
When Kraemer hit the ice just before Christmas, after 6 weeks off the ice that he was also not in game shape, but playing well. He continues, "We came back after Christmas break and I hit a wall for about 4 weeks. I couldn't get anything going; no scoring, hitting posts, just real frustrating." It was during that stretch that Kraemer decided something had to change. "One night after a bad game I came out of my shell and told myself that I am not getting any younger, and If i want a shot at the next level I have to start producing," he says. So, from February on, "I was on fire; skating hard, hitting, scoring and making plays. I was taking chances when they needed to be taken and I ended the year strong and I am hoping to get my shot in the AHL next season." Kraemer is spending his summer working hard hoping to get that call. He skates with other local products that are playing DI collegiate hockey and professional players.
So what were the lessons he learned? "I learned a lot after my first year pro. I learned that at this level everyone can play the game. Its a stronger game so I need to get stronger and faster. More importantly, I had a really good roommate that just finished his 7th pro season and has been in the AHL for several years and 1 year in the KHL. He guided me and taught me a lot on how to be a successful pro player and what it takes."
He also learned the importance of consitency. ""The guys that are getting called up are consistent on a regualr basis. I am still learning but I think after this summer training at PowerPlay gym with Rik Wilson, I will be on the right path to make my way up the ladder. I am so close but yet so far."