Height 1.83 m
Role Ice hockey player
Career end 1970
|Name Don McKenney|
Career start 1953
Weight 79 kg
|Born April 30, 1934 (age 81)
Smiths Falls, ON, CAN (1934-04-30) |
Played for Boston Bruins New York Rangers Toronto Maple Leafs Detroit Red Wings St. Louis Blues
Similar People Dean Prentice, Leo Boivin, Doug Mohns, Fernie Flaman, Fleming Mackell
Donald Hamilton McKenney (born April 30, 1934) is a retired Canadian ice hockey forward and coach, most notably for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League.
Noted as a smooth and classy player, McKenney was signed as a teenager by Harold Cotton, the longtime head scout for the Boston Bruins. He played junior hockey for the OHA Barrie Flyers (a team that was, as was common in the era, sponsored by the Bruins), coached by future Bruins' general manager Hap Emms. McKenney finished second in team scoring in 1952 and third in 1953. In 1953, McKenney was named captain of the Flyers, and led them to their second and final Memorial Cup championship.
McKenney made his professional debut with the Bruins' American Hockey League Hershey Bears farm team in the 1954 season. Injuries hampered his play that season, although he played well in the playoffs where the Bears made the Calder Cup finals, losing in six games to eventual champions Cleveland Barons. A baseball prospect whose attracted the interest of the Brooklyn Dodgers, McKenney mulled over signing with the Dodgers in the 1954 offseason but opted to continue his hockey career.
McKenney was promoted to the Bruins in 1954, and made an immediate impact; he led the team in scoring, finishing second in Calder Memorial Trophy voting for rookie-of-the-year.
Over the next seven seasons, McKenney led Boston in scoring three more times (and never finished lower than third in team scoring), while his clean, elegant style—and skill as a defensive forward and penalty killer—gained recognition. He finished in the top four in league voting for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (awarded for sportsmanship combined with a high level of performance) six straight seasons between 1957 and 1962, won the award in 1960, and was named to play in the All-Star Game in each of those seasons. 1960 proved to be McKenney's best season; in addition to the Lady Byng win, he led the league in assists, finished 8th in NHL scoring, and was voted to the Third All-Star Team.
1960 was also the start of the worst stretch in Bruins' history, when the team would miss the playoffs seven seasons in a row, the longest such stretch in NHL history before the 1967 NHL Expansion. While McKenney was named team captain in 1961 after long-time captain Fern Flaman was named as player-coach of the AHL Providence Reds, he was traded to the New York Rangers two seasons later.
By then in decline as a point scorer, he was dealt the season following to the Toronto Maple Leafs. While he was briefly rejuvenated, scoring a point per game for Toronto in 1964 in both the regular season and playoffs en route to the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup (McKenney's sole NHL championship), his decline continued the next season, and the Leafs sent McKenney down to their Rochester Americans minor league team. Following that season, Toronto released him outright, and he was claimed on waivers by the Detroit Red Wings. McKenney played only sporadically for the Red Wings, spending most of his time in the 1966 and 1967 seasons with their Pittsburgh Hornets AHL affiliate.
When the NHL expanded in 1967, McKenney was drafted in the 9th round of the expansion draft by the St. Louis Blues, a team that focused on drafting veteran players. He played effectively for the Blues, scoring 29 points in 39 games, before a knee injury caused management to send him down to the minors to rehab; it would prove to be his final NHL action.
Hired as a player-assistant coach by the Providence Reds, McKenney led Providence in scoring in 1969, and retired after the 1970 season.
In 1970, his playing career over, McKenney joined longtime Bruins teammate Fern Flaman on the coaching staff of the Northeastern University Huskies men's hockey team. Don McKenney served nearly two decades as assistant coach and head recruiter. Don McKenney assumed head coaching duties in 1989. Upon retirement in 1991, Northeastern honoured his career with the creation of the Don McKenney Coach's Award, presented in appreciation for dedication, loyalty and friendship to the Northeastern University hockey program. McKenney was inducted in the Northeastern Hall of Fame in 1999. He concluded his active life in hockey as a part-time scout for the NHL Colorado Avalanche.
In the spring of 1958, McKenney married fellow Smiths Falls, Ontario native and Ottawa schoolteacher, Margaret Gendron. The couple settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, where they raised three Northeastern graduates, daughters Valerie and Deborah and son Scot, who played for the Huskies men's hockey team in the early 1980s.