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Published October 15 2010

Where are they now? Moorhead’s Kraft retires from the pros

Ryan Kraft just simply knew it was his time. Hopping across the globe provided experiences. But the chance to stay at home and watch his kids grow up was an experience far greater.

That’s why the Moorhead High School alum said this week he is retired from playing professional hockey.

“There were a lot of things that went into it,” Kraft said. “To be successful in this game you have to be selfish and it just wasn’t fair to my family.”

The 34-year-old Kraft has been playing hockey in Germany for five years. Prior to that he bounced around in the minor leagues but in the 2002-03 NHL season, he played seven games with the San Jose Sharks.

Kraft had one assist in those seven games.

He and his wife, Angela, bought a house in Lakeville, Minn., and decided that’s where they wanted to raise their two children.

Kraft said he’s giving private clinics and hopes to eventually get into coaching.

“It would have to be the right situation,” he said about getting into coaching. “I don’t want to leave. We want our kids to have a place to come home to when they get older.”

Kraft played three seasons at Moorhead where he helped the school reach notoriety around Minnesota.

“He had a lot of skill and determine and desire, he really loved the game,” said former Moorhead hockey coach Terry Cullen, who coached Kraft. “He was one of the very best players we had when we were getting good.”

Kraft went on to the University of Minnesota, where he starred for four seasons. He had 166 points in 159 games. Kraft helped the Gophers to a conference title and captained the team his senior year.

Kraft’s performances were enough for the Sharks to draft him in 1995.

“He was just an electrifying player because of his speed,” said current Moorhead hockey coach Dave Morinville. “He could rip the puck for a guy of his stature. He sure could skate too.”

The 5-9 Kraft said he’s pleased with the way his career turned out. A part of that has to do with the notion he played 12 professional seasons.

“I have no regrets about anything,” Kraft said. “I got to play high school at one f the best programs in the state; I got to play for one of the best college programs in America, too.”