Saturday, October 2, 2010

A few minutes with...Kevin Kraus

The rookie defenseman talks about his hockey past and coming to North Richland Hills for his first pro season.

As a member of the Texas Brahmas' newly rebuilt blue line, 21-year-old Kevin Kraus is looking forward to the start of training camp on Monday morning. Kraus is coming off 2 1/2 seasons with the Vernon Vipers (BCHL) where he contributed to consecutive Royal Bank Cup wins (Canadian Junior A champions) in 2009 and 2010.

I spoke to Kevin a few weeks ago but thanks to a malfunction with my digital recorder, I was only able to transcribe our talk today. A portion of the recording was lost but here's the bulk of our conversation.

Q: Tell me a little about your time with the Vernon Vipers...

A: I came here three years ago after playing in the WHL. I played about half a season and ended up coming back for another season and we had a great year. We ended up going to the RBC and won it. I came back last year and was voted Captain and I had a real good year, setting records and going back to the RBC...we ended up repeating, so it was a pretty successful season.

Q: How did you come to the attention of Dan Wildfong and the the Brahmas organization?

A: Our assistant coach, Jason Williamson played with him (2006-07) in Shreveport maybe four or five years ago, so I think he (Wildfong) had contacted Jason about recruiting some players and my name came up. I ended up talking to Dan for about a month before I made my decision.

Q: After talking to Dan and getting an idea of what the Brahmas were looking for and what they expect, what was your first impression of him?

A: He was a really easy guy to talk to. I had never dealt with a pro coach before, so I just thought he was really easy to talk to and really easy to get along with. He answered all of my questions and it made me feel pretty comfortable about making my decision.

Q: You're originally from Southern California - how did you get into playing hockey?

A: My Step-dad grew up playing hockey and he ran a bunch of roller rinks down in Long Beach and Huntington Beach, so we were always at the rink and I played roller hockey every day...I pretty much played recreational until I was about 14. I just played roller hockey and just had fun with it...never took it too serious and then my Mother went up to Vancouver and I got to play ice hockey, so I started ice hockey at about 14 and ended up getting drafted by Kamloops and that's kind of how it all got started.

Q: You have good size and physical skill - the CHL is a very physical league...what do you know about the league and how prepared are you for the physical nature of it?

A: I haven't heard too much about it, you know, I don't really know anything. I know a couple of players who have played there. My brother plays in the East Coast League so he's told me a little bit about what he knows about the league. I know it's a physical game and that's what I like to play. I like to hit and I'll fight if I have to...I'm looking forward to it.

Q: What have you been doing to keep in shape during the summer?

A: Well, during the off-season I've been training with a trainer down in Everett with my brother and we've been doing that pretty hard. I spent time in Vernon, running some hockey camps and then working out with some of the guys afterward, so I've gotten in pretty good shape.

Q: You'll be coming in with a whole new defensive corps - a lot of guys who've never met or played together. Do you think it'll be tough to gel with each other?

A: I don't think that'll be too hard. We'll have the whole training camp and pre-season to get used to the guys...I think it'll be pretty fun...

Q: Have you ever been out to the North Texas area before?

A: No...I could have moved to Austin when I was a kid but I chose not to. My Mom and Dad lived there for a while...I've heard great things about the area...lots of good food and a lot of things to do around the Dallas area.

Q: Getting ready for your first pro season - how stoked are you for that and what's your excitement level coming into camp?

A: I'm very know, I'm itching to go. I want to go there right now and just start and get into's going to be a new thing for me going to play pro hockey.

Kraus and the rest of the 2010-11 Brahmas are in the area and getting ready for the official start of training camp on Monday morning. The camp is open to the public so if you have a little time, make your way to NYTEX this week.

Photo Credit: Vernon Vipers

No comments: