McKinnon had been an All-Star while playing for the University of North Dakota hockey team following the Second World War. In 1951 McKinnon followed a group of friends to San Bernardino, California for a year. He played hockey for the San Bernardino Shamrocks and worked as a diesel engine repairman for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. McKinnon's hockey career came to an end in 1958. While out deer hunting, his gun misfired and destroyed part of his hand, preventing him from being able to hold the hockey stick properly. He retired from the sport and joined the staff of the Marvin Window Company, for whom he worked for more than two decades. McKinnon is retired in Warroad, Minnesota.