Born in Brantford November 6, 1958, MacKinnon was an all-around athlete. He excelled in many sports and was usually chosen as captain of any team he was on. MacKinnon played several years of baseball and in the early ‘70’s and was on the Championship Brantford Junior CKPC Braves. MacKinnon was able to play anywhere in the infield with Braves and played up to 1977. Paul was an important part of the Braves winning Provincial championships in 1975 and 1976, batting a .318 average in ‘76.
Being the natural sportsmen that he was he was also the quarterback for the Terrace Hill Stradwick Tigers and the North Park Sabres. The North Park championship in 1972 was the first men’s team C.W.O.S.S.A. title in the school’s history.
MacKinnon’s true passion was for hockey. He played as a hard hitting defenseman all through his minor career in the Brantford system and played Junior B with the Diamond Kings in Oshweken. From there MacKinnon went onto the Peterborough Pete’s, where he was groomed under the watchful eye of Roger Neilson. Under Roger and later Gary Green, Paul became a disciplined player in his own zone. Like several other Brantford players such as Doug Jarvis, MacKinnon was named as Captain of Peterborough Pete’s in 1978, the year they went to the Memorial Cup and was also named to the tournament all-star team.
Drafted 23rd overall by the Washington Capitals, MacKinnon opted to play his first pro year with the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets and helped the club win the last Avco Cup in 1979. In June of 1979, the Washington Capitals reclaimed MacKinnon in the expansion draft. He played 63 games in his first year for the Capitals and had a solid +1 plus/minus. Injuries were a factor over the last 3 years and Paul split his playing time between Washington and the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
MacKinnon retired in 1984 where he settled in Detroit with his family. He keeps active with hockey currently as a regular player / Treasurer of the Detroit Red Wing Alumni. MacKinnon has also supported the highly successful Hockey Night in Brantford as a player to help raise funds for the United Way.