Walter Thomas John McKechnie (born June 19, 1947 in London, Ontario) is a retired Canadian professional hockey centre. He played for nine teams in the National Hockey League and four minor professional teams over a 17-year pro career.
McKechnie was drafted sixth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1963 NHL Amateur Draft of 16-year-old players. He played junior hockey with the London Nationals from 1965 to 1967 before turning professional with the Phoenix Roadrunners of the Western Hockey League in the 1967–68 season, where he was named the league’s rookie of the year. In February 1968, he was acquired by the expansion Minnesota North Stars and played four games in the National Hockey League that season. For the next three years, he split his time between the North Stars and their minor league affiliates.
In May 1971, McKechnie was traded to the California Golden Seals and received a lot of ice time over his three years with the team, scoring 23 goals and 52 points in the 1973–74 season. In June 1974, he was involved in a three-way trade using the intra-league draft where he was claimed by the New York Rangers and immediately sent to the Boston Bruins for Derek Sanderson. He struggled with the Bruins and was dealt mid-season to the Detroit Red Wings. The next year in Detroit, he put up what would be his NHL career-high numbers, with 26 goals and 82 points, leading the team in scoring. McKechnie followed that with a 25-goal season in 1976–77. After the season, he played for Team Canada in the 1977 world championships.
Before the next season, McKechnie was traded to the Washington Capitals. He got off to a poor start in Washington and was traded to the Cleveland Barons in December 1977. McKechnie became the property of the Minnesota North Stars when the Barons and North Stars franchises were merged following the 1977–78 season. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 1978–79 season, where he scored 25 goals. His goal production dropped the next year, and McKechnie was traded to the Colorado Rockies, where he continued to struggle. He was signed as a free agent by the Detroit Red Wings in 1981 and rebounded with an 18-goal season, followed by 14 goals in 1982–83. McKechnie spent the 1983–84 season in the Central Hockey League with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles and then retired at age 37. In 955 career NHL games, he scored 214 goals and 392 assists for 606 points.
McKechnie was a regular at The Strand Billiards in London while playing for the Ontario Hockey Association’s London Nationals during the mid-1960s. The pool hall, owned by the late Len Bonk since it first opened in 1952 and closed in September 2005, was like a second home to McKechnie, who refers to The Strand as “the academy.”
Today, McKechnie owns and operates “McKeck’s”, a family-style restaurant on Highland Street in Haliburton, Ontario.
Most recently his efforts are directed at fundraising for Prostate Cancer Canada.