A Christmas to remember for Geoff Kinrade as the Nelson Minor Hockey grad helps Canada to Spengler Cup
It was a Christmas Geoff Kinrade will definitely cherish for many years to come.
Maybe even some day tell his kids.
Kinrade was part of Spengler Cup winning squad at the 2013 tournament in Davos, Switzerland where Team Canada thumped the host HC Davos 7-2 in the final.
It was the 12th time in Spengler Cup history Canada has won the title but not since 2007.
“It was an amazing experience . . . so cool to be able to be apart of a team like this,” Kinrade told The Nelson Daily after the tournament.
“And to be able to wear the Team Canada jersey and to win was just incredible.”
The former Kootenay International Junior Hockey League rearguard with the Nelson Leafs was one of the unsung defenders called upon by Hockey Canada due to a shortage of Canadian defencemen playing in Switzerland this winter, joining the likes of Maxim Noreau and SC Bern teammate Travis Roche.
“My role was to play solid defense since we had so much offense in our line-up,” said Kinrade, who played with NHLers like Jason Spezza, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Tyler Seguin, Jonathan Bernier, Carlo Colaiacovo, Devan Dubnyk, Sam Gagner, Matt Duchene, Cam Barker and Captain Canada Ryan Smyth.
“I was told (by coaches) I would be one of the go-to penalty killers,” Kinrade added, finishing the tournament with an assist and a missed breakaway in the third period Monday when the championship was well in hand.
“Our team had so much talent and fire power that it was easy for me to do my job.”
That firepower was non-existent during the opener against German team Adler Mannheim on Boxing Day. Canada struggled to score for most of the game before losing 2-1 in overtime.
However, after the opener it was all Canada as the winners outscored the opposition 17-3 in the final three games.
“After the first game our team started to come together and as the tournament continued we felt more and more comfortable and by the end of it we were a very strong team,” Kinrade explained.
After graduating from college hockey at Michigan Tech, Kinrade played ten games with the Norfolk Admirals and made his NHL debut on April 9, 2009 for Tampa against the Washington Capitals.
He spent two seasons in the AHL with the Binghamton Senators, the farm team of the Ottawa Senators, helping the Baby Sens win the Calder Cup title in 2011.
However, Kinrade felt he would not get a fair shake with Ottawa management so he bolted for Europe, first signing with HC Plzen 1929 of the Czech Extraliga.
Kinrade moved during the middle of last season to SC Bern of the Swiss Nationaliga.
The team lost in the final of the Swiss Nationaliga.
Of course, finally getting a chance to shine on the national hockey stage did well to inspire the Nelson Minor Hockey grad.
Thanks to social media, Kinrade garnered lots of support from friends and family.
“I’d like to thank all the people back home in Nelson for the support I had throughout the tournament,” he said.
“It was incredible how many people contacted me and how many people I saw adding to the support on the Internet. It made the experience that much better.”
Of course while most people were enjoying the Christmas Holiday break, Kinrade, was working.
So the normal relax time was cut short due to the Spengler Cup and it was back to work for Kinrade and Company on SC Bern this week.
“I played (January 2) with SC Bern in Zurich against the Zurich Lions so only one day off in between the gold medal game and today’s game,” the son of Marg and Terry Kinrade said.
“Quick turn around and back to reality.”
Ya back to reality . . . but with a gold medal around the neck to help ease into that every day grind.