You read it here on July 17th after the the Vernon Vipers (BCHL) and the Vernon Morning Star newspaper announced that defenseman Kevin Kraus would be joining the Texas Brahmas for the 2010-11 campaign. The Brahmas organization made it official on Tuesday afternoon.
The 20-year-old native of Garden Grove, California is the fourth member of the new Brahmas defensive corps, which includes Nathan Saunders, Nick Toneys and Jim Burichin. The group (including a couple of players yet to be named) will have more size and physical prowess than last year's squad and a good mix of experience and rookie talent.
Kraus, at 6'2", 205 pounds, has all the makings of a young Kevin McLeod - remember his rookie season in 2007-08? Known throughout the BCHL for his strength, smarts, and dominant defensive play, he should develop well under Dan Wildfong's guidance.
"Kevin has a built a great reputation in his young career and upon speaking with several references, he seems like the kind of player that can succeed at this level," Wildfong said.
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 was named team captain and 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 spent last weekend in Vernon, B.C., working at the inaugural Sun-Valley Showcase, hosted by Vernon Viper coaches Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson. The event was designed to provide exposure for prospects to display their talent in front of junior, college and professional scouts. This week, he takes on an instructor role at the Vernon Vipers Hockey School for ages 7-15. He'll report to North Richland Hills next month for training camp.
Kraus' older brother Tim, a center, just completed his second pro season with the Ontario Reign (ECHL). I heard a rumor that Tim was coming to the Brahmas this season as well, but at this point, it's just a rumor. If you want to learn a little more about Kraus, check out the YouTube videos posted here. In addition, this is a pretty good video with highlights from the Kraus and the Vipers' championship win in April.
Photo Credit: Gordon Lee Photography