1963 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
3 17
Jim McKenny
Selected by Toronto from Neil McNeil (Ontario Midget)
Toronto Maple Leafs Neil McNeil Maroons
Jim McKenny

5-foot-10, 185 pounds

Right-hand shot


Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1962-63Neil McNeil MTJHL 37 5 12 17 43
 Neil McNeil Mem. Cup 6 1 1 2 8

Pre-Draft Notes

Attended Neil McNeil High School, where he played for the team's MTJHL team. The team also took part in 1963 Memorial Cup tournament.
Canadian • Born December 1, 1946 in Ottawa, Ontario • Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Career Vitals

First contract: 1966
Debut: February 26, 1966
(Toronto vs. Boston)
Final NHL game: November 19, 1979
(Minnesota at Buffalo)
Retired: 1980
Stanley Cup: Never won
Numbers worn: 25, 18 (Toronto);
18 (Minnesota)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: Toronto, Minnesota
Years: 1966-1979. Playoffs: 1971-1977

Regular Season
14 years 604 82 247 329 294
Stanley Cup Playoffs
6 years 37 7 9 16 10
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Career Highlights

Won Memorial Cup with Toronto Marlboros in 1964. ... Named to OHA All-Star First Team with Marlboros in 1964-65 and 1965-66. ... Scored game-winning goal for Toronto in 1-0 win over Boston at Maple Leaf Gardens on Feb. 24, 1968. The goal was the second of his NHL career. ... Won the AHL Calder Cup with Rochester Americans in 1968. ... Began playing right wing for Rochester and Vancouver (WHL) during the 1968-69 season. At Rochester, he scored 19 goals and 50 points in 47 games, and at Vancouver he scored seven goals and 21 points in 18 games. .... Won the WHL Patrick Cup with Vancouver Canucks in 1969. He led the team in postseason scoring with five goals and five assists in eight games. ... Played for Team Canada in exhibition tour of Europe and Russia during the summer of 1969. ... Was second-highest scoring NHL defenseman in his rookie season of 1969-70 with 44 points. Only Bobby Orr had more points among NHL defensemen. ... Represented Toronto in 1974 NHL All-Star Game. ...  Played right wing for Toronto in 1975-76 and spent much of that season on a line with Greg Hubick and Darryl Sittler. ... Named to CHL All-Star Second Team with Dallas Black Hawks in 1977-78. ...  Had run of eight full seasons as a Toronto regular on defense before being assigned to CHL team in Dallas in early December 1977.

Transaction History

March 15, 1978 -- Traded by Toronto to Minnesota in exchange for cash and future considerations (rights to Owen Lloyd) on March 15, 1978. The deal, however, did not take effect until the end of 1977-78 season, and Lloyd was not transferred to Toronto to complete the trade until Oct. 25, 1978.

Significant Injuries

Missed part of 1967-68 season with broken left ankle.. ... Missed start of 1970-71 season with dislocated elbow, suffered in Toronto's 1970 preseason. He did not make his 1970-71 season debut until Toronto's Nov. 6 game at California. ... Missed part of 1974-75 season with charley horse, an injury suffered during Toronto's Oct. 19 game vs. Vancouver. He did not return to action until Toronto's Nov. 6 game vs. Minnesota. ... Missed part of 1974-75 season with broken left thumb, suffered during Toronto's Jan. 8 game vs. Vancouver. He did not return until Toronto's Jan. 23 game at Los Angeles. ... Missed part of 1975-76 season with knee injury, suffered during Toronto's Dec. 20 game vs. Kansas City. he did not return until Toronto's Feb. 25 game vs. Detroit.

McKenny's Heart Attack

At age 55, McKenny survived a heart attack. The heart attack took place while he and his family were on vacation in Jamaica in early November 2002. After playing golf and tennis in the morning, an otherwise fit McKenny suffered the heart attack despite no warning signs or family history of heart disease. He was rushed to a hospital in Montego Bay, where doctors aided him until his life was ultimately saved by an emergency angioplasty in a Miami hospital. After the experience, he became a spokesman for the Toronto Chapter of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, serving as its Heart Month Ambassador. He became part of a grassroots, door-to-door effort to raise money to help fight heart disease throughout Canada

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: James Claude McKenny
Nickname: "Howie" (due to his resemblance to former NHL player Howie Young)

Other Post-Draft Teams: Toronto (OHA); Rochester (AHL); Tulsa (CHL); Vancouver (WHL); Dallas (CHL); Oklahoma City (CHL); Lyon (France); Rapperswil-Jona (Switzerland)

Off-Ice Experiences: Attended acting school in summer of 1970 because he was considering becoming an actor after his NHL career ended. He went on to play the leading role of Billy Duke for on-ice scenes of a 1971 film called Face-Off about a female singer who falls in love with a hockey star. Took psychology classes at Carleton University during his years in Toronto. ... Worked as male model (high-fashion men's clothing) in early 1980s before entering broadcasting. ... Spent 1979-80 season coaching teams in France and Switzerland after playing first half of the season in France.

Broadcasting and Beyond

Considered one of the funniest players in NHL and a master of the one-liner during his playing days, it is no surprise McKenny ended up in broadcasting. His remarkable wit included his most famous line about hockey: "Half of the game is mental and the other half is being mental." After his playing days ended in 1980, McKenny went on to a broadcasting career that made him one of the most popular TV sports figures in Canada. Initially working as sportscaster at CHUM radio, he moved on to become Q107 radio's Sports Director in 1983 and eventually found his signature job as a sports anchor at Citytv in Toronto. Working under his nickname of "Howie", McKenny became a regular sports anchor for Citytv's 6 p.m. news broadcast. He held that role from 1984 through 2009. He was named the Top Sportscaster at the 1986 Walt Disney World Games and the Top Videographer at the 1987 Walt Disney World Games. He was also named Toronto's Best Sportscaster by the Toronto Sun newspaper in 1992 and placed third in that newspaper's Sportscaster of the Year awards for 1998. During this time, McKenny also reached out to people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse and served as a counselor. After retiring from broadcasting, McKenny continued to work extensively to help those looking to break free of addiction as he had done.


Selected by Chicago Cougars in the 1972 WHA Draft -- the first-ever WHA Draft, February 1972. Grew one more inch after his draft year and played his career at 5-11, 192 pounds. Roomed with Don Cherry while playing for Rochester (AHL) in 1967-68 and 1968-69. Began 1969-70 season at right wing but was eventually moved back to natural defense position.
Worked at hockey school in Finland during the summer leading into 1971-72 season. Worked in bicycle importing business during the summer leading into 1972-73 season. Was paired on defense with Brian Glennie for Toronto in 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons. Toronto team NHLPA representative from 1974-75 season through 1977-78 season.
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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