Sports

Nelson’s Geoff Kinrade to represent Canada

For the second year in a row, Nelson
For the second year in a row, Nelson's Geoff Kinrade will represent Canada in the Spengler Cup.
— image credit: File Photo

Nelson’s Geoff Kinrade will again represent Canada in the Spengler Cup.

On Friday, December 20, Hockey Canada announced the 24 players who will represent this country at the 2013 Spengler Cup which takes place December 26-31 in Davos, Switzerland.

The roster is comprised of Canadian players currently playing in Europe, as well as players currently playing in the American Hockey League loaned to Hockey Canada by NHL teams.

Canada’s roster includes seven players who helped Canada win its 12th Spengler Cup championship last year, they include Kinrade as well as Micki DuPont, Brett McLean, Maxim Noreau, Byron Ritchie, Travis Roche and Derrick Walser.

Reached by email, Kinrade told the Nelson Star that he found out in mid-October that he would likely make the team, but having it made official was still a thrill.

“I was excited about being chosen again. I had a great time last year and it’s always an honour to play for your country,” said Kinrade.

This will be his second go round with team Canada, after winning it all last year. Kinrade said it will be challenging to repeat.

“It will be very difficult this year. Like every year, Team Canada does not have the luxury of playing together throughout the year like all the other teams in the tournament do,” he said.

“We get one practice before our first game and need to come together and find our timing as a team as quickly as possible. We are always a contender for the gold medal, so obviously our expectations are just that,” added Kinrade.

Other than Canada, which Kinrade said is always one of the favourites to win gold, it is difficult to predict which squad will challenge for the title.

“I think every team in the tournament will be extremely difficult to beat. The Russian team from Moscow will be very strong, but the Swiss host team, Davos, is always the number one threat I think. It will be interesting to see how the AHL team from the US does in this tournament and how they compare to other teams in Europe.”

The speedy  28-year-old defencman has been playing for Bern of the Swiss A League, one of the top leagues in Europe which features many former NHL stars, young North American prospects and top-level European talent. Last year, Kinrade helped Bern capture the Swiss-A League championship. He also won a Calder Cup with the American Hockey League’s Binghampton Senators in 2011.

Kinrade is a former Nelson Minor Hockey standout and Nelson Junior Leafs defenceman. He led the Leafs in scoring as a 16-year-old rookie.

After two seasons with the Leafs, Kinrade made the jump to Junior A where he played two seasons with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The blueliner then spent four seasons of NCAA college hockey with Michigan Tech.

Upon graduating from college, Kinrade signed on with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL and played his first (and at this point only) NHL game late in the 2008-09 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

Kinrade signed with the Ottawa Senators for the 2009-10 season, attended their training camp and was assigned to the Binghampton farm team.

This year’s Spengler Cup will include Canada’s National Men’s Team, HC Vitkovice Steel (Czech Republic) and HC Davos (Switzerland), the host team, playing in the Cattini Group, and CSKA Moscow (Russia), HC Genève-Servette (Switzerland) and the Rochester Americans (AHL) playing in the Torriani Group.

Canada opens the tournament on December 26 against HC Vitkovice Steel. All of Canada’s games at the 2013 Spengler Cup will be broadcast on TSN or TSN2.

Canada has appeared in 10 of the last 12 championship games, winning the Spengler Cup in 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2012. Overall, Canada’s National Men’s Team has won the Spengler Cup 12 times (1984, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2012) since first taking part in the tournament in 1984.

The Spengler Cup, held annually since 1923, is the oldest professional international hockey tournament in the world.

Canada’s team was assembled by Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations/national teams.

The head coach is Doug Shedden.

“The players we have selected today (December 20) are Canadian ambassadors for the game, both in North America and Europe, and we are excited they will wear the maple leaf in Davos,” said Pascall.

“We look forward to getting on the ice in Switzerland and representing Canada proudly.”

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