Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Don Blackburn
Left-winger Don Blackburn was a solid two-way forward who played spent parts of six years in the NHL during the 1960s and '70s. He was a fine passer and checker as well as a positive influence in the dressing room. Blackburn went down in history as the head coach of the Hartford Whalers when they joined the NHL in 1979.

Blackburn was a key member of the OHA's Hamilton Tiger Cubs for two years before turning pro with the Victoria Cougars of the Western League. After two strong years in the EPHL with the Kingston Frontenacs, Blackburn recorded five assists in six games for the Boston Bruins in 1962-63. The Bruins relegated Blackburn to the Quebec Aces and Rochester Americans of the AHL where he was a productive goal scorer.

Blackburn's big break came when he was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1967 Expansion Draft. He played an important two-way role on the young club for two seasons before he was acquired by the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts' depth at forward left Blackburn in the AHL once again where he enjoyed much individual success. He led the league in scoring with 99 points in 1971-72 and was selected to the first all-star team once and second all-star unit on two occasions.

The veteran winger joined his second expansion team in 1972 when he was claimed by the New York Islanders in the Intra-League Draft. He was one of the struggling club's most consistent players before being traded to the Minnesota North Stars late in the year. Blackburn joined the WHA's New England Whalers in 1973-74 and was an important playmaker and checker for the club.

Blackburn retired in 1975 and was named the club's interim coach. After he was replaced by Harry Neale in March 1976, the loyal employee remained with the organization as an assistant coach. Prior to the 1978-79 season, Blackburn was appointed New England's head scout. In April he took over as coach and lit a fire under the team as it took the Edmonton Oilers to a seventh game in the Avco Cup semi-finals.

Director of Hockey Operations Jack Kelley decided to give him a chance at leading the club into its inaugural NHL season as the Hartford Whalers. The new club boasted young stars Mark Howe and Mike Rogers as well as legends Gordie Howe and Dave Keon. Blackburn guided them to the playoffs that first year but was replaced by Larry Pleau early in 1980-81.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1956-57 Hamilton Tiger Cubs OHA-Jr. 52 9 8 17 17 4 0 2 2 0
1957-58 Hamilton Tiger Cubs OHA-Jr. 52 15 18 33 37 15 4 3 7 16
1958-59 Victoria Cougars WHL 50 15 16 31 14
1959-60 Victoria Cougars WHL 41 8 7 15 8 11 1 1 2 2
1959-60 Providence Reds AHL 16 1 1 2 8
1960-61 Kingston Frontenacs EPHL 59 14 31 45 27 5 1 0 1 0
1961-62 Kingston Frontenacs EPHL 51 13 24 37 30 11 2 12 14 5
1962-63 Boston Bruins NHL 6 0 5 5 4
1962-63 Kingston Frontenacs EPHL 67 42 54 96 22 5 4 4 8 0
1963-64 Quebec Aces AHL 63 19 19 38 39 9 1 1 2 9
1964-65 Quebec Aces AHL 70 19 42 61 34 5 0 2 2 0
1965-66 Quebec Aces AHL 72 36 42 78 51 6 1 4 5 4
1966-67 Rochester Americans AHL 70 20 37 57 24 13 3 3 6 10
1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 67 9 20 29 23 -2 7 3 0 3 8
1968-69 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 48 7 9 16 36 -13 4 0 0 0 2
1968-69 Baltimore Clippers AHL 12 6 13 19 10
1969-70 New York Rangers NHL 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
1969-70 Buffalo Bisons AHL 68 27 44 71 40 13 5 7 12 6
1970-71 Rochester Americans AHL 62 25 44 69 22
1970-71 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 0 0 0 0
1971-72 Providence Reds AHL 76 34 65 99 12 5 1 3 4 2
1972-73 New York Islanders NHL 56 7 10 17 20 -33
1972-73 Minnesota North Stars NHL 4 0 0 0 4 0
1973-74 New England Whalers WHA 75 20 39 59 18 7 2 4 6 4
1974-75 New England Whalers WHA 50 18 32 50 16 5 1 2 3 2
1974-75 Cape Cod Codders NAPro 2 2 2 4 0
1975-76 New England Whalers WHA 21 2 3 5 6
1975-76 Cape Cod Codders NAPro 8 4 4 8 0
NHL Totals 185 23 44 67 87 12 3 0 3 10


EPHL First All-Star Team (1963)
AHL Second All-Star Team (1970, 1972)
AHL First All-Star Team (1971)
John B. Sollenberger Trophy (Leading Scorer - AHL) (1972)
Claimed by Montreal from Boston (Kingston-EPHL) in Inter-League Draft, June 4, 1963. Claimed by Toronto from Montreal in Intra-League Draft, June 15, 1966. Claimed by Philadelphia from Toronto in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967. Traded to NY Rangers by Philadelphia with Leon Rochefort for Reggie Fleming, June 6, 1969. Loaned to Rochester (AHL) by NY Rangers, September 30, 1970. Selected by NY Raiders (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12, 1972. Claimed by NY Islanders from NY Rangers in Intra-League Draft, June 6, 1972. Traded to Minnesota by NY Islanders for cash, March 1, 1973. WHA rights traded to New England (WHA) by NY Raiders (WHA) for future considerations, September, 1973.