Don McKenney

For much of the 1950s and early 1960s, Don McKenney was a Dave Keon-like star with the Boston Bruins. Old time Boston fans compared him to Cowboy Bill Cowley, a Bruins star from the 1940s.

Tall and rangy, he was a clean and elegant center, winner of the 1960 Lady Byng Memorial trophy as the NHL's most gentlemanly player. He was noted for his excellence at both ends of the ice. He was a polished offensive talent, known for good speed and play-making ability. He was equally as brainy while defending, relying on great anticipation skills and strong positioning.

Donald Hamilton McKenney first made a name for himself as a junior hockey star, captaining the Memorial Cup champion Barrie Flyers in 1953. That power house team featured a number of future notable greats including Doug Mohns, Orval Tessier and a young Don Cherry.

After just a single season in the minor leagues (an incredibly brief apprenticeship in that era), McKenney graduated to the Boston Bruins in 1954-55. Over the next 8 years he would lead the Bruins offensively, scoring 20 goals each year except one. Seven times he would finish amongst the top 20 NHL scorers. And in 1959-60 he led all NHLers in assists.

McKenney's game improved come playoff time. Three times he was in the top 10 in Stanley Cup scoring, twice for goals scored. With the Bruins he was never more prolific than in 1958 when he and Fleming MacKell led the offensive charge in the memorably epic Stanley Cup final against Montreal, a championship series narrowly won by the mighty Montreal Canadiens.

By 1961 McKenney was named team captain of the Bruins, but midway through the 1962-63 season he was moved to New York in exchange for Dean Prentice. About a year later he was part of the big Andy Bathgate trade to Toronto. McKenney played a nice support role in helping the Leafs win their 3rd Stanley Cup in a row. For McKenney, it would be his only Stanley Cup of his career.

McKenney played another season in Toronto before continuing his career largely in the American Hockey League. He did make appearances with Detroit and St. Louis, but finished the decade playing for the Pittsburgh Hornets and Providence Reds.

All told Don McKenney scored 237 goals and 345 assists in 798 regular season NHL games. In 58 playoff games he scored 18 goals and 29 assists for 47 points.

He later went on to become a long time coach at Northeastern University.


Axxellein 3:17 PM  

An childhood idol of mine...

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