At only 22-years-old, Kevin Kraus won’t be much older than many of the players he’ll be coaching with the Revelstoke Grizzlies this coming hockey season.
Still, he thinks his youth can be an advantage. “Being a young coach as well, I think I can relate to the players a little bit more than somebody older,” he told the Times Review after it was made public that he was taking over as head coach and general manager of the Grizzlies.
Kraus joined the Grizzlies as an assistant coach last season and helped head coach Randy Quakenbush guide the team to a first place finish in the conference.
He’s been handed the reins of the club after Quakenbush was let go by Grizzlies Sports Entertainment.
“Obviously it’s going to be a big jump,” Kraus said. “I learned a lot from Randy and I feel like I can put the things I learned from him and my own philosophies and do my own thing.”
Kraus, a native of Garden Grove, California, spent four years playing junior hockey in the Western Hockey League and BC Hockey League. He played for the Kamloops Blazers and Tri-City Americans of the WHL before joining the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL. He capped his junior career by captaining the Vernon Vipers to the RBC Cup, which is given to the top Junior A team in Canada.
On top of being head coach, Krause will also act as general manager of the Grizzlies. He faces a number of challenges, notably recruiting players to join him for next season. The turmoil with regards to the team’s future this spring set things back because it was first unclear as to where the team would be playing next year and then who would be coach.
“Now I’m trying to get on my horse and get in contact with all the people I know,” he said. “I think most of my recruiting will be done late-July and August when the Junior A teams have their camps.”
As for his coaching style, Kraus described himself as half player-coach, half-hard ass. “I’m not afraid to sit a star player or a fourth line. It’s more a reward system. If you work hard for me, I’ll give you the chance to succeed,” he said. “I’m here in Revy for the same reason they are. I’m trying to get to the next level of my career and so are they. It’s in my best interest to get them there and then I can get there.
Kraus said Darren Komonoski would be back as assistant coach and he would looking to hire one more assistant.
As for Quakenbush, he said he was “very disappointed” to not be asked back to coach the team. He was let go when the team was sold to 100 Mile House but not brought back after the team was saved in Revelstoke, despite having 15 months left on his contract.
“I have respect for Kevin and think that he should do fine,” he said.