Rookie defenseman coming off second consecutive Canadian National Junior A hockey championship win
The Vernon Vipers (BCHL) announced on Friday that defenseman Kevin Kraus will be joining the Brahmas for his rookie season.
The 6', 2" 205 pound native of Garden Grove, California captained the Vipers to their second straight Royal Bank Cup National Junior A hockey title in May.
After considering his options, which included playing in Europe, Kraus, with the help of Vipers coaches Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson (who made some calls on his behalf) decided to begin his professional career in North Richland Hills.
“Texas was the best place for me and felt I could contribute most there," Kraus said. "I owe a lot to my coaches for their help and I'm very thankful...I'm excited to go there and have a new experience and play pro hockey."
Kraus played 36 games with the Kamloops Blazers (WHL) in 2006-07, tallying three assists and 57 penalty minutes. The following season, he was traded to the Tri-City Americans where he notched five points (1 G, 4 A) and 27 penalty minutes before joining the Vipers for the remaining 18 games of the season, adding four assists and 17 PIM.
In 2008-09, Kraus tallied 19 points (1 G, 18 A) and 81 penalty minutes in 55 games played. This past season, he increased his scoring output to 27 points (5 G, 22 A) with 70 PIM in 56 games played.
In April, the Vipers won the Fred Page Cup Championship (British Columbia Hockey League Champions) following a 4-2 series win over the Powell River Kings. They went on to sweep the Grand Prairie Storm in four games to win the Doyle Cup (winner of the Best-of-7 series between the BCHL and AJHL playoff champions) and finished the post-season by winning their second consecutive RBC Cup (National Junior A championship) with an 8-1 victory over the Dauphin Kings.
Kraus has yet to met Dan Wildfong yet, but says he got a good vibe from talking with him on the phone.
“We talked and I got pretty comfortable with him and felt it was going to be a good fit. They haven’t seen me play, but in that league it’s a lot of word of mouth."
As far as describing himself as a player, Kraus puts it like this:
“I’m more of a steady, stay-at-home, physical defenseman, but I’m capable of adding some offense too. I’m going in there pretty confident having had two good years with the Vipers.”
Kraus is currently visiting family in Everett, Washington but will return to Vernon to assist coach Ferner with his off-season hockey camps and work on his physical conditioning before reporting to the Brahmas' training camp in September.
Asked how he feels about moving to the Lone Star State, Krause revealed another love besides hockey.
"My parents lived in Texas for a bit and they said I will love it and there is good BBQ there which I'm looking forward to!”
By the way, Kraus isn't the only hockey player in the family. His older brother Tim just completed his second pro season with the Ontario Reign (ECHL).
Here are a couple of really good profiles on Kraus from last year found on YouTube:
Photo Credit: Vernon Vipers