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Ken McKenzie (August 19, 1923 - April 9, 2003)

Builder/Hockey
Inducted 1999

From frustrated hockey player to columnist at the Winnipeg Free Press, Ken McKenzie parlayed his love of the game into a publishing empire that produced the bible of the sport - The Hockey News - and a spot in the hallowed Hockey Hall of Fame.

His dream to play hockey dashed as a midget-aged defenceman with the St. James Canadians, but McKenzie could not get the game out of his blood. He joined the Free Press as a copy boy and became a columnist, writing a weekly amateur column that dealt with hockey and other sports.

McKenzie joined the Air Force and was stationed in Montreal - headquarters of what was then a six-team National Hockey League - during the Second World War. He was given a job by the Montreal Gazette when the war ended.

"I covered curling. Can you imagine?" McKenzie recalled. "But I always had this idea for a hockey publication and I approached (then NHL president) Red Dutton with a dummy copy to show him."

Dutton did not bite on the idea immediately, but did hire McKenzie as a part-timer to organize NHL stats. It was McKenzie's big breakthrough. "It was getting my foot in the door," he recalls. "When Red left and Clarence Campbell took over, I was there waiting the first day he arrived. I had three interviews with him and he hired me as the NHL's full-time publicity director."

But McKenzie's idea for a hockey publication had to wait. After a year, the cautious Campbell said his young p.r. man could proceed with the project - as long as it did not cost the NHL any cash or interfere with his p.r. responsibilities.

The year was 1947. The Hockey News was born and it had 3,000 subscribers before that initial Oct. 1 edition. "That was a great year for me. It was also the year I put out the first Press and Radio Guide, which received good reviews too." The guide was the precursor to what hockey beat reporters called their own bible; the NHL Official Guide and Record Book.

Ken McKenzie is also a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Ken McKenzie's Induction Video