John McKenzie (ice hockey)

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John McKenzie
JohnMcKenzie.jpg
McKenzie in 2012
Born (1937-12-12)December 12, 1937
High River, Alberta, Canada
Died June 9, 2018(2018-06-09) (aged 80)
Wakefield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for NHL
Chicago Black Hawks
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
WHA
Philadelphia Blazers
Vancouver Blazers
Minnesota Fighting Saints
Cincinnati Stingers
New England Whalers
National team  Canada
Playing career 1958–1979

John Albert McKenzie (December 12, 1937 – June 9, 2018) was a Canadian professional hockey player and coach. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for several seasons, most notably with the Boston Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup twice. He also played several seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA).

Playing career[edit]

McKenzie's former teammate Gerry Melnyk dubbed the young player "Pieface" for his resemblance to a cartoon figure of the same name featured on the wrapper of a popular Canadian candy bar; this was later shortened to "Pie." He played junior hockey for three years with the St. Catharines Teepees of the OHA and led the league in goals and points in 1958.

Mckenzie made his NHL debut in 1958–59 with the Chicago Black Hawks. The following season he moved on to the Detroit Red Wings, where he lasted two years. He was then demoted again to the minors, where he played most of three seasons in the American Hockey League with the Hershey Bears and the Buffalo Bisons, and was named to the league's First All-Star Team in 1963. He returned to the NHL and the Black Hawks in 1963–64, and two years later played for the New York Rangers for part of the 1965–66 season, halfway during which he was traded to the Rangers' arch-rivals, the Boston Bruins.

It was with the Bruins that the 5-foot-9-inch, 170 pound (77 kg) right wing had the most productive seasons of his career. He became a star in the 1967-68 season, scoring twenty-eight goals and gaining a reputation as a pesky, relentless hustler. He scored twenty-nine goals each of the next two seasons, and was named to the Second Team All-Star in 1969–70. In the playoffs that year he scored seventeen points in fourteen games, fourth on the team after Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and John Bucyk and did so again in 1971-72. His best season was 1970–71, when he scored 31 goals and 77 points in 65 games. All in all, McKenzie scored 169 goals in his seven years in Boston and helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cup titles, in 1970 and 1972.

At the end of the sixth and last game in the 1972 Stanley Cup finals, when the Bruins defeated the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden to take the Cup, McKenzie skated to center ice, raised one arm in mimicry of the Statue of Liberty, placed his other hand around his neck to appear as though he were choking, then jumping up and down in a circle several times. Thus he implied, to the Rangers and their fans, that the Rangers had choked at their best chance of winning their first Stanley Cup since 1940). This became known as the "McKenzie Choke Dance," or simply the "choke dance."

In the summer of 1972, McKenzie was disgruntled at being left unprotected in the expansion draft, and he signed as player-coach with the Philadelphia Blazers of the newly formed World Hockey Association (WHA). In thirteen games he recorded only two wins and eleven losses, and he stepped down as coach in favor of veteran Phil Watson. He continued to play effectively for the Blazers, then for the Minnesota Fighting Saints, the Cincinnati Stingers and finally the New England Whalers. He finished his career in the WHA's final season in 1978-79, having played twenty-one seasons.

Later Life[edit]

In 2007, McKenzie served as the coach of the Berklee Ice Cats, the newly formed hockey team at Berklee College of Music in Boston.[1] Following that, he was the liaison for hockey development at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

McKenzie died at his home in Wakefield, Massachusetts, at age 80 on June 9, 2018, after a long illness.[2][3][4]

Career achievements and facts[edit]

  • Played in 477 WHA games (7th all-time), totalling 163 goals, 250 assists and 413 points (16th all-time)
  • Played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1970 and 1972
  • Played in the Summit Series for Team Canada in 1974 against the Soviet Union
  • His #19 was retired by the Hartford Whalers, making him one of only three players whose number was retired by an NHL franchise for which he never played (the other two being J. C. Tremblay by the Quebec Nordiques and Frank Finnigan by the modern-day Ottawa Senators). It was widely believed at the time, since McKenzie's contributions to the WHA Whalers were modest, that the honor was a public relations sop to the Boston Bruins' fan base for which Whalers management was competing.
  • In 2010, he was elected as an inaugural inductee into the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame in the “Legends of the Game” category.[5]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1953–54 Calgary Buffaloes WCJHL 34 6 8 14 12 5 0 0 0 2
1954–55 Medicine Hat Tigers WCJHL 39 14 4 18 33 5 0 0 0 4
1955–56 Nanton Palominos FHHL
1955–56 Calgary Stampeders WHL 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 1 2
1956–57 St. Catharines Teepees OHA-Jr. 52 32 38 70 143 14 9 11 20 50
1957–58 St. Catharines Teepees OHA-Jr. 52 48 51 99 227 8 8 4 12 19
1958–59 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 32 3 4 7 22 2 0 0 0 2
1958–59 Calgary Stampeders WHL 13 2 5 7 18
1959–60 Detroit Red Wings NHL 59 8 12 20 50 2 0 0 0 0
1960–61 Detroit Red Wings NHL 16 3 1 4 13
1960–61 Hershey Bears AHL 47 19 23 42 84 8 3 6 9 10
1961–62 Hershey Bears AHL 58 30 29 59 149 7 1 2 3 19
1962–63 Buffalo Bisons AHL 71 35 46 81 122 13 8 12 20 28
1963–64 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 45 9 9 18 50 4 0 1 1 6
1964–65 St. Louis Braves CHL 5 5 4 9 17
1964–65 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 51 8 10 18 46 11 0 1 1 6
1965–66 New York Rangers NHL 35 6 5 11 36
1965–66 Boston Bruins NHL 36 13 9 22 36
1966–67 Boston Bruins NHL 69 17 19 36 98
1967–68 Boston Bruins NHL 74 28 38 66 107 4 1 1 2 8
1968–69 Boston Bruins NHL 60 29 27 56 99 10 2 2 4 17
1969–70 Boston Bruins NHL 72 29 41 70 114 14 5 12 17 35
1970–71 Boston Bruins NHL 65 31 46 77 120 7 2 3 5 22
1971–72 Boston Bruins NHL 77 22 47 69 126 15 5 12 17 37
1972–73 Philadelphia Blazers WHA 60 28 50 78 157 4 3 1 4 8
1973–74 Vancouver Blazers WHA 45 14 38 52 71
1974–75 Vancouver Blazers WHA 74 23 37 60 84
1975–76 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 57 21 26 47 52
1975–76 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 12 3 10 13 6
1976–77 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 40 17 13 30 42
1976–77 New England Whalers WHA 34 11 19 30 25 5 2 1 3 8
1977–78 New England Whalers WHA 79 27 29 56 61 14 6 6 12 16
1978–79 New England Whalers WHA 76 19 28 47 115 10 3 7 10 10
NHL totals 691 206 268 474 917 69 15 32 47 133
WHA totals 477 163 250 413 619 33 14 15 29 42

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
Philadelphia Blazers 1972-73 7 1 6 0 (2) 3rd in WHA East (resigned)
Vancouver Blazers 1973-74 7 3 4 0 (6) 5th in WHA West (interim coach)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donna O’Neil (March 28, 2007). "Former Bruins forward Johnny McKenzie teaches musicians the game of hockey". Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Former Bruin Johnny 'Pie' McKenzie dead at 80". The Boston Globe. June 10, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018 – via Boston.com. 
  3. ^ "Johnny McKenzie, 2-time Stanley Cup winner with Bruins, dies at 80". ESPN. AP. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018. 
  4. ^ "Johnny McKenzie, who won 2 Cups with Bruins, dies at 80". Boston Herald. AP. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018. 
  5. ^ WHA Hall of Fame Members

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]