Kevin Ginnell was raised in a world of hockey. But when his mother, Wanda, was battling cancer, he promised that if she beat it he would leave the ice and go back to school.
Wanda recovered and Kevin, who died Saturday morning in Vancouver at the age of 58, resumed his education. Dr. Ginnell went on to leave an indelible impression in the world of academia as a professor at Simon Fraser University and Douglas College.
The eldest son of the legendary Pat Ginnell, a longtime player, owner, general manager and head coach, Kevin experienced some health issues over the past year and was in care in Vancouver when he died.
Ginnell was born in Omaha, Neb., in 1961, while his father, who died on Nov. 17, 2003, was playing for the International league’s Omaha Knights.
Kevin played four seasons (1978-82) in the WHL, the first with the Lethbridge Broncos, then two with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He finished up by playing 17 games with the Calgary Wranglers in 1981-82. In 220 regular-season games, he had 168 points, including 70 goals.
Ginnell was a fifth-round selection, 99th overall, by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 1980 draft, but he ended his playing career after 1981-82, choosing to jump into the coaching waters.
His coaching career included a stint with the AJHL’s Calgary Spurs and 12 seasons in Saskatchewan. He coached in the SJHL with the Minot Americans, Estevan Bruins, Yorkton Terriers and Saskatoon Titans, moving to Kindersley with the Saskatoon franchise after the 1992-93 season. He was the SJHL’s coach of the year in 1991-92 while with the Titans.
After the 1994-95 season, at the age of 33, he left coaching in order to attend university, thus fulfilling the promise he had made to his mother. He was 37 when he graduated from Simon Fraser U with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours. He achieved his Master of Arts in Political Science in 2001 and his Doctorate in 2013. His dissertation was titled: Who Really Governs Vancouver? Community Power and Urban Regime Theory Revisited.
According to hockeydraftcentral.com, Ginnell was “vice-president of Simon Fraser University’s political-science students association and was nominated for a community service award in 1999 for efforts to get the campus community to help low-income residents of Vancouver. . . . Became a voice in Vancouver politics as a result of academic work on political issues, including published papers on Vancouver’s public transportation system and impact of the Habitat for Humanity program.”
His younger brothers, Erin and Dan, continue to work in hockey. Erin, 51, is a scout with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights; he played for two seasons in Minot with Kevin as the GM and head coach. Dan, 53, scouts for the St. Louis Blues.
Erin has two sons playing in the WHL — Brad, 19, finished last season with the Spokane Chiefs, while Riley, 17, is with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Dan’s son Derek, 29, just completed his first season as a scout with the New York Rangers after being with the Columbus Blue Jackets for five seasons.
Taking Note has been told that Geoff Grimwood will be the next general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals. . . . He will succeed Mike Vandekamp, who left last month to become the GM/head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. . . . Grimwood spent three seasons (2015-18) as the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers, then was with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors in 2018-19. . . . Grimwood, who is from Victoria, began last season as the GM/head coach of the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, but he resigned on Dec. 6, saying in a news release that he was “choosing to step away from coaching and take some time away from the game.” At the time, the Stampeders were 17-10-2.
Clayton Stoner, who played in the WHL and NHL, has joined the Victoria-based South Island Royals program as a coach. According to the organization, Stoner “will be joining our U15, U16 and U18 teams for the 2020-21 season as an associate coach and advisor of player development.” . . . Stoner was a third-round selection by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2004 draft. He played with the Wild and Anaheim Ducks before injuries forced his retirement. . . . He played three seasons (2002-05) with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.
Inquiring minds are wondering at what “other leagues” the dart is aimed . . . LOL!