Former Nelson Leafs star Geoff Kinrade has been shortlisted to represent Canada at a pre-Olympic event that will go a long way to determining the squad at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Kinrade is one of 26 players selected to the pre-Olympic roster announced Thursday by Hockey Canada.
“We were told last November (2016) that they were beginning to evaluate players at the Deutschland Cup/Spengler Cup with Team Canada in preparation for the event that the NHL decide to not go to the Olympics,” Kinrade recently told The Nelson Daily.
“I knew I was a candidate since November of last year I just assumed the NHL would settle their issues with the IIHF so I never put much thought into it.”
The NHL announced during the spring that it will not participate in the in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, ending a run of five consecutive Winter Olympics with NHL players.
The pre-Olympic roster will play in November’s Karjala Cup in Finland.
The tournament is the next step in the evaluation process leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which happens to be the first to be played without NHL talent since 1994.
“We are bringing together a group of players who are on our radar for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games as part of our ongoing evaluation process, with the goal of fielding the best possible team next February,” said General Manager Sean Burke.
“These 26 players are part of the larger group that is still under consideration for the Olympic team; 10 of these players were not with us in August in Russia, while others who remain under consideration won’t join us next month due either to their being unavailable, or because we feel we already have a good sense of where they could fit with our team.”
Hockey Canada said player selections have been led by Burke with input from the management group as well as the coaching staff, which includes Desjardins and assistant coaches Dave King, Scott Walker former NHLer, Craig Woodcroft and scout Morey Gare, who, like Kinrade, played minor hockey in Nelson.
Kinrade currently plays in Beijing, China, for Kunlun Red Star in the Kontinental Hockey League.
"It was a good offer and our team should be one of the better teams in the KHL this season due to them increasing their budget," Kinrade explained when asked about his decision to sign with Kunlun.
Kunlun is currently in eighth spot in the Kharlamov Division with a 11-14 division. In 25 games this season with Kunlun, the 32-year-old defenceman has two goals for four points.
Kinrade played two seasons for Nelson Leafs in 2001-03 before scoring a spot with Cowichan Valley Capitals of the BCHL.
Kinrade earned a scholarship to Michigan Tech where he graduated with a degree after four years with the Huskies.
After playing one game in the NHL later that year with Tampa Bay Lightning following the conclusion of the college season, Kinrade signed a free-agent contract with Ottawa Senators.
He played two seasons for the Sens AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
In 2011 the Baby Sens won the American Hockey League Championship, Calder Cup.
The following season Kinrade played in Europe where he helped Canada to the Spengler Cup Championship in 2013 before signing in the KHL in 2014.
TSN will broadcast the games against Sweden (Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m. ET) and Finland (Nov. 12, 10:30 a.m. ET); check local listings for details.