Sean McKenna was a useful role player who could score a few goals during an NHL career that lasted over 400 games. An explosive scorer in junior, he became a more versatile forward in the NHL for three different clubs.
Born in Asbestos, Quebec, McKenna starred in the QMJHL with the Montreal Junior Canadiens and Sherbrooke Beavers. He was chosen 56th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1980 before being returned to junior. During his last two years as an amateur, McKenna recorded consecutive 57-goal seasons and helped Sherbrooke reach the Memorial Cup tournament in 1982. After scoring 26 goals in 22 games, he was presented the Stafford Smythe Memorial trophy as the MVP of the tournament and was placed on the Memorial Cup all-star team. McKenna also earned selection to the QMJHL first all-star team in 1981 and the second team the following year.
During his first NHL season in 1982-83, he spent considerable time in Buffalo but also saw action in the AHL with the Rochester Americans. He then reached the 20-goal mark two straight years while teamed with Paul Cyr and Gilles Hamel. By the mid-1980s, Buffalo was on a downslide and started making changes. McKenna was sent to the L.A. Kings in a multi-player deal that also involved Brian Engblom and young enforcer Ken Baumgartner.
McKenna used his speed in a checking role for the Kings but the club was in decline and losing fan support. In December 1987, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Mike Allison. McKenna was a part time player for the Leafs and ended up spending half his time in the AHL with the Newmarket Saints before retiring in 1990.