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Albuquerque’s Gretz ready for NHL draft year with OHL’s Firebirds

 

Marcus Gretz of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

Next summer’s NHL Draft will be held in Montreal – about 2,100 miles from Albuquerque.

Marcus Gretz, an Albuquerque native who turns 18 in November, is excited to make that trip in late June.

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“It definitely has hit me that it’s my NHL draft year,” said Gretz, a third-year defenseman with the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds. “I think anyone who says they don’t think about it is lying. It’s hard not to, especially when it’s everything I’ve ever worked for, but with that being said, worrying or focusing on it won’t do anything but eat at someone. For me, I’m just focusing on being back on the ice and playing to the best of my abilities and the rest will take care of itself.

“I just have to trust that.”

During the 2018-19 season, Gretz, who played youth hockey back home for the New Mexico Scorpions, New Mexico Renegades and Team New Mexico, missed a big chunk of the year with a shoulder injury, but after a busy summer of training, he’s 100 percent for the current OHL campaign.

“Last season was definitely tough, not just physically but mentally as well,” Gretz said. “There were a lot of hard times in there. For me, it was never really the pain that bothered me. It was having to sit back and watch. Not being able to play, work out or even at a certain point, I was even missing just picking up pucks with the boys or the little daily locker room chatter. It took constant reminders that it doesn’t last forever no matter how tough and that I’ll be back stronger and better than ever.”

Gretz said that he feels as great as he ever has and can’t wait to get the season started.

“We have something truly special in Flint,” said Gretz. “We have really built a culture and it feels like one big family. This is one of the closest group of guys I’ve ever been with and I think that gives us such an advantage. We’ve all been through so much together and we can’t wait to prove what we have.”

Photo/Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

— Matt Mackinder

(Oct. 9, 2019)