Ken Schinkel, a member of the expansion Pittsburgh Penguins who later coached them and served in several front office positions, has died. He was 87.
Born in Jansen, Saskatchewan, on Nov. 27, 1932, Schinkel was a solid two-way forward for Springfield of the American Hockey League in the late 1950s. He had a career year in 1958-59, scoring an AHL-leading 43 goals, and the New York Rangers bought him in June 1959. He made his NHL debut against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 7, 1959, and scored his first two NHL goals three days later against the Boston Bruins.
After playing 265 games with the Rangers from 1959-60 to 1966-67, the 34-year-old was selected by the Penguins in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft. He played six seasons with Pittsburgh, was the first member of the Penguins to be selected for the NHL All-Star Game (1968 and 1969), and became the first player in Pittsburgh history to score a hat trick in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, during a 5-2 victory against the Oakland Seals in Game 3 of the Quarterfinals on April 11, 1970.
Schinkel was 40 when he retired as a player midway through the 1972-73 season, finishing with 325 points (127 goals, 198 assists) in 636 NHL games, and nine points (seven goals, two assists) in 19 playoff games. He was named coach on Jan. 13, 1973, replacing Red Kelly, and went 83-92 with 28 ties during two stints from 1973-77. The Penguins made the playoffs under Schinkel in 1976 and 1977 but lost in the best-of-3 Preliminary Round each time.
After stepping down as coach in May 1977, Schinkel held several front office positions with the Penguins, including assistant general manager and scouting director, where he helped oversee the drafting of Mario Lemieux in 1984. Schinkel followed GM Eddie Johnston to the Hartford Whalers in 1989 and spent the rest of his hockey career there.