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Heritage Society Sets Reds 16th Reunion Date; Don McKenney to Receive “Tops” Award

Providence, RI (6/6/2016): The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society has announced that its 16th annual reunion will be held at Goddard State Park in Warwick on Sunday, Aug. 7, starting at noon.

Society members have already been informed but this notice is for non-members who would like to attend. For further information please contact Mal Goldenberg at 401-782-6623 or e-mail Mal@rmcri.com.

One of the event’s many highlights will be presentation of the 2017 “Tops Award,” named in honor of the late Zellio Toppazzini, voted by the society in 2000 as Reds “Player of the Century.” Don McKenney will receive this year’s honored award that is given annually to former Reds players and/or employees who have exemplified a love of hockey, dedication to the Reds and broad support for the larger community.

McKenney, who makes his home in Norton, MA, began his NHL career with the Boston Bruins in 1954, and made an immediate impact and led the team in scoring, and finished second in voting for rookie-of-the-year. Over the next seven seasons, McKenney led Boston in scoring three more times, while his clean, elegant style—and skill as a defensive forward and penalty killer—gained recognition.

In 1960 he was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship, combined with a high level of performance. He was named team captain in 1961. Later he was traded to the N. Y. Rangers, then to Toronto where he helped the Leafs to the Stanley Cup 1964 title - the only Cup of his long and brilliant NHL career. Next he played briefly for the Detroit Red Wings.

Along came the 1967-68 expansion of the old NHL 6-team format. The result added six new franchises to the league and the fledgling St. Louis Blues quickly added the talented veteran McKenney. 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 (the Kansas City Blues) to rehab. It would prove to be his final NHL action. His NHL career totals are impressive: In 1,202 games: 397-570-967.

But while on a scouting trip, Buster Clegg, the Reds’ young general manager, decided to ask Blues’ GM Scotty Bowman to sell Don to our Reds. The deal was done but it took a call from Reds’ player-coach to persuade Don to report to the Reds. He did and lead the Reds in scoring in 1968-69 with impressive stats of 26-48-74 (in 74 games).

In 1970 with his playing career over, McKenney joined longtime Bruins teammate Fern Flaman on the coaching staff of the Northeastern University Huskies mens’ hockey team. There he served nearly two decades as assistant coach and head recruiter. Later he assumed the head coaching position and eventually received deserved honors for his dedication to the university.

For further information call 401-230-5905 or e-mail RIREDS15@gmail.com.

R. I. Reds Heritage Society
PO Box 504 Lincoln, RI 02895
Telephone: 401-230-5905
email: RIREDS15@gmail.com