Glace Bay builder MacKinnon helped grow the game

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - This story is the fourth in a se­ries chron­i­cling this year’s in­ductees into the Cape Bre­ton Sport Hall of Fame. BY T.J. COLELLO sports@cb­ On Twit­ter: @cb­post_s­ports

A love of sports as a youth con­tin­ued on for Howard MacKinnon, who was in­stru­men­tal in grow­ing the game of hockey in his na­tive Glace Bay.

That ded­i­ca­tion to sports in his com­mu­nity is be­ing rec­og­nized with an in­duc­tion into the Cape Bre­ton Sport Hall of Fame. The cer­e­mony will take place at the Cape Bre­ton Sport Her­itage Awards on Saturday at Cen­tre 200.

“To be hon­est with you, I never once thought about it, one way or an­other,” the mod­est 88-year-old from Glace Bay said about the honour. “I’m not be­ing face­tious when I say that, it just never en­tered my mind. What I was do­ing, it was never for me.”

MacKinnon first got into coach­ing while teach­ing at Mor­ri­son Ju­nior High School in 1953, tak­ing the reins of the rugby team. He’d coach or man­age the midget, ju­ve­nile and in­ter­scholas­tic hockey teams at Mor­ri­son from there. He’d also coach at Donkin-Morien District High School, and won pro­vin­cial ti­tles with both schools.

He’d serve 11 years as sec­re­tary and 15 as vice-pres­i­dent of the Glace Bay Youth Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion start­ing in 1952. MacKinnon also be­came chair of the Nova Sco­tia High School Hockey Fed­er­a­tion and pres­i­dent of the Cape Bre­ton

Head­mas­ters As­so­ci­a­tion.

His work would ex­tend out­side of Glace Bay as well, as MacKinnon joined the ex­ec­u­tive of the Mar­itime Ama­teur Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion (MAHA) in 1965. It was there he’d con­vince the MAHA to add a midget ‘B’ cat­e­gory to al­low more play­ers to play.

“They were won­der­ful kids and it got to the point where the hard­est thing I could do in coach­ing was to tell kids that they didn’t make the team,” he said. “That to me was bad and I thought, ‘I have to do some­thing about this.’”

MacKinnon was on the board of di­rec­tors of the former Glace Bay Min­ers Fo­rum, and served as its pres­i­dent for 16 years. The Toronto Maple Leafs no­ticed his hockey knowl­edge, as he served as their re­gional scout from 1961-67.

Out­side of hockey, MacKinnon was the former head of the Glace Bay Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion, and helped push for in­fras­truc­ture im­prove­ments to sports fa­cil­i­ties in the town. He and Inglis Ma­cAulay played a key role in the cre­ation of the Glace Bay His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety in 1983, and he served as pres­i­dent for eight years.

Last year, the Glace Bay Her­itage Mu­seum So­ci­ety hon­oured MacKinnon and Ma­cAulay as a her­itage heroes. MacKinnon has also been rec­og­nized by the MAHA, the Nova Sco­tia Mi­nor Hockey Coun­cil and the Cana­dian Ama­teur Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion for his years of ser­vice to the sport.

Ticket’s for Saturday’s cer­e­mony are still avail­able by call­ing Carol Miller at 902-562-0849 or Mackie Mac­In­tyre at 902-8712543.


Howard MacKinnon of Glace Bay, shown in this un­dated photo. MacKinnon will be in­ducted into the builder cat­e­gory of the Cape Bre­ton Sport Hall of Fame at the Cape Bre­ton Sports Her­itage Awards on Saturday at Cen­tre 200.

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