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Don McKenney: Hockey Hall of Fame Honourable Mention

February 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

The Barrie Flyers took it all in 1952-53. They were first place in league play, won the Robertson Cup over the St. Michael's Majors and took the Memorial Cup with a victory over the St. Boniface Canadiens. The franchise would also achieve Mem Cup success as the Niagara Falls Flyersbut, so far not as the Sudbury Wolves. One of the major factors in Barrie's success was the play of centre Don McKenney.

A little bit of an unsung hero in the hockey world, McKenney is not enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame but does have a pretty impressive list of achievements. He played two seasons with the Flyers, 1951-52 and 1952-53, scoring over 30 goals each season. In the days before the draft, Barrie was sponsored by the NHL's Boston Bruins. After a year with the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears, McKenney found his way to Boston.

In his first season with the Bruins, McKenney was the runner-up for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year after leading Boston in points with 42 in 69 games. Each season he played with Boston, Don was typically first or second in team scoring. He led the team in 1956-57 and 1958-59.

Overall, he was in the top ten NHL point-getters four times, all between 1956-57 and 1959-60. His only major individual award was the Lady Byng Trophy in 1959-60.

He was an integral part of the 1963-64 Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup victory. A late season pickup from the New York Rangers, McKenney contributed 12 points in 12 games on the way to the Cup. Previously, with Boston, he reached the finals after the Bruins finished fourth in the six team league and upset the Rangers in the first round before losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the finals. That playoff season, McKenney scored nine and added eight assists for 17 points in just 12 games.

McKenney played in the NHL from 1954-55 to 1965-66 with the Bruins, Rangers, Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. He made it back in 1967-68 with 39 games in a St. Louis Blues uniform. He continued to play in the American Hockey League until the end of the 1969-70 season. With the Pittsburgh Hornets in 1966-67, he won another championship in yet another league as the Hornets took the Calder Cup in their final year of existence. His swan song, of sorts, came in 1968-69 with the Providence Reds, putting up 74 points and finishing eighth in AHL scoring.

Don McKenney's rookie hockey cardappears in the 1954-55 Topps series, the first hockey set produced by Topps. Although Gordie Howe's card is valued at $1800, McKenney's is the highest valued rookie card at $80, according to Beckett Hockey Monthly.

Don went on to coach several years at Northeastern University in the U.S., last coaching in 1990-91.

Tom is the author of (OHL Alumni Central). OHL Alumni Central is a daily updated blog featuring graduates of the Ontario Hockey League and their careers in professional hockey after leaving the OHL.

The centrepiece of is the OHL Alumni Big List. The Big List is an on-going database of the whereabouts of all the active OHL grads.

Source: EzineArticles
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