Idaho Steelheads' Vause makes plays, graphics

The second-year pro hopes to provide a scoring punch for Idaho.

clangrill@idahostatesman.comNovember 14, 2013 

Coach Brad Ralph hopes to put forward Taylor Vause in position to make plays. “(Vause) is going to get opportunities to show the next level that he can put the puck in the net,” Ralph said.

KYLE GREEN — kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Creativity and vision.

Those qualities help Steelheads forward Taylor Vause play hockey.

“He sees the ice well,” teammate Dalton Reum said. “He’s got good vision.”

And while the 22-year-old Vause is still making a name for himself as a young player, he’s already made a splash as a self-taught graphic artist.

“I’ve always had the creative side,” Vause said. “When I was younger, I would design jerseys and put them on my door as a kid. It’s interesting that it’s translated into real-life stuff.”

As a junior player, Vause played four seasons with the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. During the 2011-12 season, he served as the team captain and tallied 83 points in 72 games.

He also designed two jerseys for the team that raised nearly $15,000 for charities.

“That was an amazing experience,” Vause said. “I don’t think there are many players who can say they wore the jerseys they designed.

“To wear those was pretty special, and I actually scored in both games while wearing them.”

After his time in the WHL, Vause turned pro and spent last season with the Texas Stars (AHL). After years of being a top scorer, Vause’s minutes were limited and he was more of a role player.

“That was the tough part about last year,” he said. “It’s an adjustment where you try to contribute to the game every time you’re out there.”

Vause’s numbers suffered though, and he tallied 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 55 games. Those numbers should increase considerably with the Steelheads.

“From his junior career, it was clear he’s got a lot of upside,” coach Brad Ralph said. “We have tried to put him in a role to let that flourish. … He’s got a quick, shot and I think it surprises a lot of goalies.”

Vause came into Wednesday’s game against the Ontario Reign as the second-leading goal-scorer for Idaho with five goals in nine games.

“I feel more pressure here to score, but it’s a good pressure and I enjoy that,” said the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Vause. “Obviously, I want to be in the AHL, the NHL, but this is the place where I need to be right now. I’m going to play a lot, and I’m going to make the best of that situation.”

And in his spare time, he can continue to feed his creative side. In addition to designing jerseys, Vause also redesigned more than three dozen movie posters and video game covers to feature NHL players. He turned “Call of Duty Black Ops” into “Call of Doughty Black Ops” in honor of L.A. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Another turned “Black Hawk Down” into “Chicago Black Hawk Down.”

“It started out as something I was just fooling around with, but I put it out there (on the Internet), and it’s been pretty exciting,” Vause said.

Through word of mouth and his Twitter account (@WizardofVause), his images have become a hit in the hockey world. His web page has garnered more than 348,000 views.

“In the end, that creativity is there, and I like to think that it does well for me,” Vause said.

Chris Langrill: 377-6424

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