Kraus steers south

Vernon Viper defenceman Kevin Kraus hoists the RBC Cup in May in Dauphin

After three seasons with the Vernon Vipers, Kevin Kraus is headed home to the U.S.

The Garden Grove, Calif. product, who captained the Vernon Vipers to their second straight RBC Cup national junior A hockey title in May, has signed a pro contract with the Texas Brahmas of the Central Hockey League.

Kraus, who turns 21 in September, has spent the months following the national championship win mulling over his options. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound blueliner would have loved a shot at playing European pro hockey, but admits he would have been a long shot to earn a contract.

“It’s hard for us to come out of junior A without making a name for yourself first. There are guys from the Dub (WHL) that have a hard time getting over there,” said Kraus, who posted 50 points and 168 penalty minutes in 129 career games with the Snakes.

As Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner points out, playing in the CHL is far better than not playing at all.

“It’s not so much where you’re playing, it’s continuing to play. It’s keeping your foot in the door,” said Ferner, who Kraus credits for helping him earn a shot with the Brahmas.

“I’m just happy for Kevin. He kind of bounced around for a bit (in the WHL), but he found a home here.

“He’s not going to be that offensive guy, but when it came down to it, he was a guy that we leaned on and he was a big part of why we won (the RBC).

“We’ve got a couple players in that situation,” added Ferner, referring to Viper veterans Robbie Short and netminder Graeme Gordon.

Kraus, who is currently staying with his family near Everett, Wash., plans on coming back to Vernon to help Ferner with his hockey camps, and getting in some ice time with the Vipers before heading to Texas in late September.

“It’s nice to be home with the family, but I do miss Vernon and I do miss Canada,” said Kraus, whose parents used to live in Texas.

“They said I’ll love it. I’m excited for a new opportunity.”

Kraus has yet to met his new head coach (Dan Wildfong), 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.

“I’m more of a steady, stay-at-home, physical defenceman, but I’m capable of adding some offence too. I’m going in there pretty confident having had two good years with the Vipers.”

And if Kraus has any questions, he can get some sound advice from older brother, Tim, who plays in the East Coast Hockey League with California-based Ontario Reign.

The CHL is a 15-team league ranging from Arizona to Mississippi in nine states. Seven of those teams are in Texas.

The Brahmas won the CHL championship for the first time in 2009. They finished mid-pack in the 2009-10 season, going 32-25-7.

Just Posted

Vernon Peewees second at Valley of Champions tournament

The Vernon A Peewees baseball team won the silver medal on July 14

Vernon Women’s Transition House changes name

Name changed to Archway Society for Domestic Peace to showcase all programs offered

Pick your own salsa at Vernon’s Davison Orchards

Event allows people an authentic “farm-to-fork” experience August 16

Former B.B. King bassist will sing the blues in Vernon

Russell Jackson and his band will play in Vernon for the first time on July 27

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

When walls talk: Vernon murals see generation II

“This new movement, an app, will bring the strength of some of those same Vernon visionaries together again into a newdigital form”

Okanagan school district monitoring McCurdy supportive housing plan debate

Top priority for board of education is to maintain safety integrity of local schools

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

Okanagan woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for homeless youth

Victoria Schermel’s climb will raise funds for youth homelessness initiative, The Upstream Project.

Most Read