The NAHL: Dr. Francis Charles “DINK” Madden

While Dr. Eddie Nagle was the dentist who played hockey, Dr. Francis Charles “Dink” Madden was the hockeyist who played at dentistry. Dink Madden grew up in Ottawa is an Irish Roman Catholic. Although a well-known athlete during his college years, his later accomplishments never left Pittsburgh. In the 20s, he continued to play hockey at the apparent cost of his dentistry practice. Although he refereed a few games in 1930, he failed to reconnect with hockey after moving to Detroit. Yet, he likely maintained close contact with his best friend and best man, Eddie Nagle.

Born in May, 1893, Dink rose from a single parent home to athletic stardom. In 1895, Dink Madden’s mother and infant sister died, likely from complications of childbirth. Despite this, Dink made Hintonburg public school’s 1901 honor roll. By 1911, he enrolled in Ottawa college. There, he’d meet his lifelong friend, Eddie Nagle. They became famous athletes in hockey, football, and track and field. After they graduated in 1915, Madden attended McGill University leaving his home roots for the 1915/16 school year. In Summer 1916, Dink returned and, with Eddie, transferred to University of Pittsburgh.

From 1916/17 until the summer of 1918, Dink played Point with the Pittsburgh Athletic Association All-Stars while completing his dentistry degree. On the All-Stars team, he played with Herb Drury, Joe and Larry McCormick and others. In 1917/18, the All-Stars played the National Amateur Hockey League becoming the strongest team in United States amateur hockey.

In spring 1918, Dink and Eddie received Canadian draft notices. Together, they traveled back to Canada to answer the summons. Instead of entering into the infantry, he volunteered for the Royal Canadian Navy as surgeon practioners. Prior to leaving for England, Dink married local girl Margaret Lillian Spielmacher on 24 June, 1918. Eddie was witness and best man. After a short trip to Montreal and eastern Canada, Dink, Lilly and Eddie parted ways duration of the war. For the war, Dink was assigned to the HMS Anemone. He returned in June 1919 to finish his final year of dentistry school at University of Pittsburgh.

Dink reunited with Eddie at University of Pittsburgh for their final year of dentistry. They also played in local hockey for the 1919/20 season. After graduating though, Dink remained in Pittsburgh while Eddie moved to Saskatoon. Although Dink initially left hockey to start a dentistry practice, he returned to play for Pittsburgh in the 1920/21 USAHA season.

His post-war playing career did not last long. He coached an local amateur team for a season. Starting in 1923, he refereed hockey games. Additionally, he was a associate clerk of the course for the Pittsburgh Skating Association. However, his dentistry practice did not seem to get established. In 1925, he started a cigar store called Dink Maddens at 132 S. Highland Ave.

By 1928, Dink sold his store and left Pittsburgh for Detroit near his wife’s family. For the 1930/31 season, he refereed at least three hockey games, which one was an NHL-IHL exhibition. Despite listed with the “Dr.” moniker, it is not clear if he even attempted a dentistry practice in Detroit. In 1930, he worked at a bank. By 1942 he was a manager at Sears’ Gratiot Ave store. Yet, there is no mention of a dentistry practice.

Dink passed away in 1954 at the age of 83. Father of two and husband of one. Dink became a champion in Pittsburgh. Though leading a fairly ordinary life after Pittsburgh, he would still be considered a champion.

The NAHL: Lawrence “Larry” James McCormick

Lawrence “Larry” James McCormick left behind minor fame following his younger brother Joe to Pittsburgh.  Larry drove the Buckingham Seniors of the Lower Ottawa Valley League to three Maclaren Cups, 1907/08, 1912/13 and 1914/15. He captained the team during the 1914/15 run. For Larry, the decision to leave probably was more about supporting family and friends than chasing a cup.

The McCormick’s baptized their newest son, Larry, at St-Gregoire-de-Naziance in Buckingham, Quebec. Locked into tradition, Larry carried it with him throughout life.

Larry remained in Buckingham until 1915. Several factors possibly pushed, pulled or dragged Larry from Buckingham. During the summer, he, Joe and Ed Gorman, a 1927 Stanley Cup winner with the Ottawa Senators, left for Cleveland to play for Mr. Shannon. They quickly found themselves in Pittsburgh. Shannon ran afoul of the Ontario Hockey Association and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, who banned Cleveland’s team with claims of professionalism. As a result, the group found themselves trying out for the Pittsburgh teams in early January 1916. Roy Schooley picked them up for the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.

Buckingham and Pittsburgh recognized Larry’s shot and situational awareness. Newspapers from 1907 until the 20s commented on it. Roy declared Larry captain of the 1920 U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team, which won silver.  Larry played one last season, 1921/22 before transitioning to coaching and refereeing.

Larry coached amateur Pittsburgh teams from the USAHA to the local club level. During his first season of coaching the YellowJackets, he got into an altercation with Canadian Soo player, Charley Boucher. Larry, as one of the two referees, penalized Boucher. Instead of heading to the bench, Boucher skated over to Larry. The Pittsburgh Press indicated Larry came out the better of the scrap. Whether fists flew or not, Larry personified hockey tradition.

Because Larry held-fast to amateurism, he worked as a car mechanic. His occupation in the war years was at Samson’s Motor Company. The employment ended with mobilization into the Army Motor Transport Corps along with teammates Joe McCormick, Herb Drury and Angus Baker. While he may have returned to work for Samson’s after the war, he found a new occupation, husband.

A scribbled note next to his baptism entry marks 19 July, 1921. Larry, much like his brother Joe, were practicing Catholics. Just after that date, Larry married Hazel Marie Chisholm. She probably did not like her first name. On drafts cards or military service compensation, Larry always wrote her name as “H. Marie”.

Around Roy’s death in November 1933, Larry and Marie started looking for a new place to settle. They were in New York for a bit in 1935. Larry came back to Pittsburgh for an old-timer’s game in February 1936. However, they found their home in Barnstable, Massachusetts. After a long illness, Larry passed away on 30 December, 1961 in Hyannis with services held at Our Lady of Victory. Marie’s journey continued until 7 November, 1980.

I think of the brothers as representing the two sides of the hockey coin. Joe represented the new era of hockey players. Whereas, Larry memorialized the hockey players of “then”.

Sat, Jan 12, 1929 – Page 16 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/lower-ottawa-valleys-holy-hockey-grail-uncovered
2. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=33599 (Note: Requires paid account)
3. World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts. State Headquarters ca. 1942. NARA Publication M2090, 166 rolls. The National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri. U.S.A.
4. Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection; Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp
#. Pittsburgh Press, Ottawa Journal and others courtesy of Newspapers.com