A New Hampshire resident since 1960, when he moved to Durham to assist his wife’s father in the millwork business, Don McKinnon became one of our state’s most accomplished on-ice officials calling five NHIAA state championship games, hundreds of college games, and many games in the Granite State Hockey League and New England Hockey League.
An Ontario native, he began refereeing in the Toronto Hockey League doing youth games, and eventually worked his way up to the Ontario Hockey League, where he worked Junior B games.
In New Hampshire, he refereed games at all levels of hockey. His first NHIAA championship game was between Hanover and Berlin in 1966, the last year the championship game was held in Berlin before it moved to Snively Arena at UNH, where McKinnon refereed four more state championships.
Over the years, he worked many college games, particularly at Bowdoin and Colby College, which were relatively close by. His normal college schedule with the ECAC would be 10-14 games per season, with a few of those at the Division 1 level. It was estimated he worked more than 200 ECAC games in his career.
When the Granite State Hockey League was formed in 1962 with six teams, the need for good officials was there, and McKinnon got involved, along with men like John “Tarzan” Healy, Dutch Morse, Dan Crowley, Arthur Mudge, Ernie Fredette, George Healy and John Carter. He refereed more than 75 GSHL games, including playoffs.
In addition, when he could fi t into his schedule, McKinnon refereed about 12 games per season in the New England Hockey League from 1969 through the 1973-74 season. Friends remember a game between the Manchester Blackhawks and Concord Eastern Olympics, where due to a crease violation McKinnon disallowed a Blackhawks goal and the Olympics held on to win, 2-1. McKinnon and one of his linesman (Legends Hall of Famer Red Brochu) needed a
police escort to exit the JFK Coliseum in Manchester.
McKinnon spent 25 years as a member of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association, the first two (1962-64) with the Northern New England chapter before New Hampshire broke off and formed its own chapter. He was a member of the New Hampshire chapter for 23 years (1964-87).
From 1970-73 he served as the representative of the New Hampshire chapter at the NIHOA National Meeting. He served as president of the New Hampshire chapter from 1971-73.