The bulk of his career was spent toiling in the minor leagues, but he did have a good run in the big leagues. He totalled 185 in the NHL (scoring 23 goals, 44 assists and 67 points) with the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Minnesota North Stars. He also played 146 games in the World Hockey Association with the New England Whalers.
It was with the Flyers that he may be most associated with. He was an original Flyer, selected from Toronto in the 1967 NHL Expansion draft.
"Blackburn was the kind of player that Bud [Poile], Keith [Allen] and I were looking for when we were scouting for the Expansion Draft. He was a responsible and smart player. Scored a lot in the AHL but he understood his role and he worked hard," the late Marcel Pelletier recalled in a 1995 interview with Hockey Hall of Fame writer Jay Greenberg.
"Don was a good man and a good teammate," recalled Flyers defenseman Joe Watson. 'We had a lot of fun the first season with the Flyers. He had a great sense of humor. He didn't take himself too seriously but he was a competitor on the ice."
Blackburn stepped behind the bench and coached in New England in the WHA and was head coach when the organization joined the NHL in 1979, now known as the Hartford Whalers.
Don Blackburn passed away on February 17th, 2023. At the time he resided in sunny Sarasota, Florida