1963 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
1 6
Walt McKechnie
Selected by Toronto from London (OHA Jr. B)
Toronto Maple Leafs London Nationals
Walt McKechnie

6-foot-2, 195 pounds

Left-hand shot


Pre-Draft Statistics

Statistics unavailable

Pre-Draft Notes

Coached by Hall of Famer Turk Broda during junior career in London. ... Also played high school football and was quarterback for his school team. ... As a 12-year-old, he attended Game 6 of the 1960 Stanley Cup Finals in which Bobby Baun scored a dramatic game-winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Canadian • Born June 19, 1947 in London, Ontario • Hometown: Byron, Ontario

Career Vitals

First contract: 1967
Debut: February 21, 1968
(Minnesota vs. Boston)
Final NHL game: March 26, 1983
(Detroit vs. Minnesota)
Retired: 1984
Stanley Cup: Never won
Numbers worn: 22 (Minnesota); 8, 19 (California and Cleveland); 18 (Boston);
11 (Detroit); 10 (Washington);
11 (Toronto); 12, 11 (Colorado)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: Minnesota, California/Cleveland, Boston,
Detroit, Washington, Toronto, Colorado
Years: 1968-1983. Playoffs: 1968-1979

Regular Season
16 years 955 214 392 606 469
Stanley Cup Playoffs
2 years 15 7 5 12 7
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Career Highlights

Named WHL Rookie of the Year with the Phoenix Roadrunners in 1967-68. ... Led California in assists (38) and points (54) in 1972-73. ... Led Detroit with career-high 56 assists and career-high 82 points in 1975-76. ... Won Detroit's 1975-76 Evans Award (sportsmanship). ... Named NHL's Most Improved Player for 1975-76 in a poll of league's general managers by the Toronto Star. ... Led Detroit in goals (25), assists (34) and points (59) in 1976-77. ... Played on Team Canada squad that finished fourth at 1977 World Championships in Vienna, Austria -- marking Canada's first appearance at the tournament since 1969. ... Led Toronto with six game-winning goals in 1978-79. ... Scored both goals in Toronto's 2-1 win over Atlanta in Game 1 of first-round playoff series on April 10, 1979. It was McKechnie's first postseason NHL game since 1968. ... Received London Hockey Man of Distinction Award from the city of London, Ontario, in 2007. ... Inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Transaction History

Oct. 15, 1967 -- Traded by Toronto to Phoenix (WHL) for Steve Witiuk. Feb. 17, 1968 -- Pro hockey rights sold by Phoenix (WHL) to Minnesota. As part of the deal, Minnesota loaned players to Phoenix and later completed deal in July 1968 by sending Leo Thiffault and Bob Charlebois to Phoenix. . May 20, 1971 -- Traded by Minnesota with Joey Johnston to California for Dennis Hextall. June 10, 1974 -- Claimed by N.Y. Rangers from California in Intra-League Draft. June 12, 1974 -- Traded by N.Y. Rangers to Boston for Derek Sanderson. Feb. 18, 1975 -- Traded by Boston with 1975 third-round pick (Clarke Hamilton) to Detroit in exchange for Hank Nowak and Earl Anderson. Aug. 17, 1977 -- Traded by Detroit with 1978 third-rounder (Jay Johnston), 1979 second-rounder (Errol Rausse), and cash for rights to Ron Low (compensatory, Low was restricted free agent who had signed with Detroit) and 1979 third-rounder (Boris Fistric). Dec. 9, 1977 -- Traded by Washington to Cleveland for Bob Girard and 1978 second-rounder (Paul McKinnon). June 15, 1978 -- Placed on Minnesota reserve list prior to Cleveland-Minnesota dispersal draft. Oct. 5, 1978 -- Traded by Minnesota to Toronto for future considerations (1980 third-round pick - Randy Velischek). March 3, 1980 -- Traded by Toronto to Colorado for 1980 third-rounder (Fred Boimistrick). Aug. 13 1981 -- Signed with Detroit as an unrestricted free agent. April 1983 -- Released by Detroit.

Significant Injuries

Missed part of 1971-72 season with stretched ligaments in ankle, suffered in California's Nov. 18, 1971, game at Buffalo. He did not return until Dec. 8, 1971, game at Pittsburgh. ... Missed part of 1971-72 season with leg injury, suffered in California's Feb. 20, 1972, game vs. St. Louis. He did not return until California's March 21, 1972, game at Minnesota. ... Missed part of 1973-74 season with groin injury, suffered in California's Jan. 31, 1974, game at Chicago. He did not return until California's March 2, 1974, game at Montreal. ... Missed remainder of 1980-81 season with partially torn ligament in right knee, suffered in Colorado's Feb. 17, 1981 game vs. Quebec. ... Missed part of 1981-82 season with bruised ankle, suffered in Detroit's Nov. 18, 1981, game vs. Los Angeles. He did not return until Detroit's Nov. 25, 1981, game vs. Buffalo. ... Missed part of 1982-83 season with knee injury, suffered in Detroit's Dec. 5, 1982, game vs. Philadelphia. He did not return until Detroit's Jan. 25, 1983, game vs. Vancouver.

McKechnie's Cause

In 2007, some 23 yearsafter he retired from pro hockey, McKechnie was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He overcame the illness because of early detection, but at the same time developed a commitment to helping others with the disease and to raising awareness of it throughout Canada. He spoke at many events dedicated to raising funds to fight the disease and also used his position as a local politician in the Haliburton, Ontario, area to help encourage men to get themselves tested.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: Walter Thomas John McKechnie
Nickname: "McKeck"

Other Post-Draft Teams: London (OHA); Phoenix (WHL); Iowa (CHL); Cleveland (AHL); Salt Lake (CHL).

Career Beyond Hockey: Owned a hardware store called "Pro Hardware" in his native London, Ontario, in 1976. ... Worked at Haliburton Hockey School during off-seasons of his playing days. ... Ran restaurant/sports bar called McKeck's in Haliburton, Ontario, after his retirement from 1986 to 2009.

Non-Playing Career

Served as Detroit assistant coach late in 1981-82 season. ... Named Salt Lake (CHL) player-assistant coach in August 1983 and held position until he retired following the 1983-84 season.

Named N.Y. Rangers amateur scout for Ontario prior to 1986-87 season and held position through the 1987-88 season.


Selected by Miami Screaming Eagles in 1972 WHA Draft  -- the first WHA Draft, February 1972. Butted heads with Caps coach Tom McVie and benched for good in mid-November 1977. Was on Cleveland team that folded after the 1977-78 season and merged with Minnesota. Played on line with Dan Maloney and Ron Ellis for Toronto in 1978-79.
Total Selected: 21
Forwards: 13
Defense: 6
Goaltenders: 0
Position n/a: 2
Major Junior: 4
College Players: 0
Canadian: 21
American: 0
European: 0
Reached NHL: 5
Won Stanley Cup: 1
Hall of Fame: 0
All-Star Game: 2
Year-end All-Star: 0
Olympians: 0
Picks Traded: 0

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