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July 22, 2016

Kilby MacDonald

There probably not a lot of hockey fans out there nowadays that know the name Kilby MacDonald. But there was a time when Kilby MacDonald was the brightest young hockey player in the National Hockey League.

The Ottawa left winger had joined the New York Rangers for the 1939-40 season and helped the Blueshirts win the Stanley Cup. Backed by a 15 goal, 28 point regular season campaign, MacDonald beat out Toronto's Wally Stanowski and Chicago's Doug Bentley as the winner of the 1940 Calder Trophy as the National Hockey's Rookie of the Year.

MacDonald's offensive production would slip in his second season. Then, like so many NHLer players at that time, his NHL career was put on hold as served in the Canadian military. He was stationed in Montreal where he was able to continue playing in a senior league.

Unlike a lot of NHLers who served in the war, MacDonald did find his NHL job waiting for him when he got his release. He played two more seasons for the Rangers, but was never quite the same player he was in his rookie season.

One newspaper source suggested MacDonald suffered from some sort of continual stomach discomfort.

His career totals feature 36 goals and 70 points in 151 games.

"Kibby was the quiet type," said former. "He wasn't a loner ... just never had as much to say as us mouthy people.

"I remember congratulating him on the Calder, saying it was quite an honor. All he said was that, yes, it was a good feat. Hell, if I had finished 15th in the voting I would have been jumping over the moon. He was just one great, quiet individual - very unassuming. "

MacDonald spent many years after hockey working for Labatt's Brewery. He and his brother Ab spent many hours helping to promote local sports.

" He and his brother were around the Auditorium all the time as kids, " said former Journal sports editor Bill Westwick. " Everybody had high regard for Kibby - that was the part of his character that stood out with everybody - that he was such a nice guy. "

Kilby MacDonald spent more and more time in the warm comfort of sunny Florida as he got older. He would pass away in Seminole, Florida in 1986. He was 72 years old.

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