“Last year we had an incredible team, so we had a pretty easy time once we got used to playing with each other,” Kinrade explained.“This year will a lot more difficult. The main reason being is that all the other teams play together all year and we have to try and find chemistry in one or two practices before our first game.”“Even with the team last year we lost our first game against the German team because we struggled with our timing with each other,” he added. “So it will be quite the challenge this year to defend the title.”The smooth skating defenceman got his start in the game playing in Nelson Minor Hockey.He played a few seasons with the Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League earning a shot at Junior A with Cowichan of the BCHL.Kinrade honestly believed his career was on a down hill slide until lighting it up during a BCHL Allstar game.That propelled the Kinrade to a very good second season with the Capitals before Michigan Tech called with a scholarship offer.Kinrade played four seasons for the Huskies.After graduating he played ten games with the Norfolk Admirals and made his NHL debut on April 9, 2009 for Tampa against the Washington Capitals.On July 10, 2009 he signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.Kinrade played two season with the Baby Sens, anchoring the blueline during Binghampton’s 2011 Calder Cup title run.However, instead of resigning with the Baby Sens, Kinrade decided to sign on with HC Plzen 1929 of the Czech Extraliga.Kinrade moved during the mid-season to SC Bern of the Swiss Nationaliga.This season has been marred with injuries for Kinrade and a slow start for Bern.“We’ve had a rough start,” Kinrade said about his Swiss season.“Things haven’t been going well and we’ve had a lot of injuries on defense. For some reason the team hasn’t had the edge we had last season.“Possibly some sort of championship hangover maybe. But as of now we are playing much better and are fighting for a playoff spot.”Many believe Kinrade has the talent to make it in the NHL.Those skills, however, are still not on display in North America even with the NHL salary cap coming down this past off season.However, Kinrade believes the European game, a la, like Nelsonite Simon Wheeldon, is more suited to his smooth skating style.”The larger ice surface and style of play in Europe is less demanding physically, especially for a defensemen,” Kinrade said.“Because of this, my career can last much longer, with less injuries.”“I can’t say I don’t think about giving the NHL another shot, I think about it pretty much every time I see the NHL on TV or in the news, but it would be very difficult to give up my current situation here,” he added.“But if the right opportunity comes along, then it would definitely be something I would think about.”Canada plays either CSKA Moscow or HC Davos in game two Friday (December 27).The playoffs begin Sunday, December 29 with the final set for Tuesday, December 31.All games are telecast on TSN. Team Canada will need to take the longer road to defend its Spengler Cup after the champs dropped a 3-2 decision to the host team Saturday in Davos, Switzerland.Team Canada, a squad consisting of players from European teams including Nelson’s Geoff Kinrade, will need three wins in as many days if it hopes to repeat as Spengler Cup champions.The squad begins the march beginning Sunday with quarter-final action against the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.The game can be seen on TSN 11 a.m. PT.Kinrade garners point as Team Canada opens Spengler Cup defence with a win over HC Vitkovice SteelNelson’s Geoff Kinrade had an assist as Team Canada rallied back to edge HC Vitkovice Steel of the Czech Republic 5-4 in the opener of the Spengler Cup Thursday in Davos, Switzerland.Derek Walser scored the winner as Team Canada twice rallied back in the game.Glen Metropolit, Byron Ritchie, Micki DuPont, and Alexandre Bolduc also scored for Canada in a back-and-forth offensive game that saw leads slip away between both teams four times.Rudolf Huna, Peter Huzeka, Roman Szturic and Lukas Kucsera scored for Vitkovice.Kinrade, who assisted on the second goal of the opening period for Team Canada by Metropolit, is one of seven returning players from last year’s gold medal winning team.Team Canada faces host HC Davos Saturday.The game can be seen on TSN starting at 11 a.m.Nelson’s Geoff Kinrade gets the Team Canada call, againHockey Canada liked Geoff Kinrade so much during the 2012 Spengler Cup the brass decided to invite the Nelson Minor Hockey product back for another tournament.Kinrade joins his Team Canada mates when Canada opens defence of its title Thursday (December 26) against HC Vitkovice Steel at the Vailant Arena in Davos, Switzerland.”It’s always an honour to be able to play for your country in an event,” the 28-year-old Nelson native told The Nelson Daily when reached in Bern, Switzerland prior to the tournament.“This particular tournament has so much history and is in such a great setting that it is very exciting to be able to go back again and defend the title.”The Spengler Cup, originating in 1923, is an annual ice hockey tournament held in Davos, Switzerland and is considered the oldest invitational ice hockey tournament in the world.Team Canada consists of players currently on European teams.The 2013 Spengler Cup is the second time Kinrade, in his third season with SC Bern of the Swiss League, is representing Canada at the tournament.“Last year was my first time ever playing for Team Canada so I will admit I was nervous,” Kinrade, the son of Marg and Terri Kinrade.“This time, I don’t see myself being all that nervous.”Last year’s tournament Team Canada was sprinkled with professional players looking to keep their skills sharp during the NHL lockout.This year Team Canada must take the challenge using Canadians playing in Europe.