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: Dr. Edmund “Eddie” Burke Nagle

Saskatoon’s adopted, Dr. Edmund Burke Nagle, dedicated himself equally to dentistry and amateur sports, especially hockey. Born in Almonte, Canada, Eddie, as he’d become to be known, played football and hockey at St. Joseph High School in the early-1900s. However, it was in college where his athletic talents rose to fame.

Starting in November, 1910, Eddie enrolled in Ottawa College with newspapers declaring his right half-back position. However, he also continued to play the seven-man hockey. He starred at center and learned under Father Stanton. Additionally, he played alongside Dr. Francis Charles “Dink” Madden with whom he’d become fast friends.

Prior to Eddie’s graduation, he traveled to Battleford, Saskatechewan for part of the 1913/14 season. Battleford desired a Senior A hockey team. Eddie only played for the one season and returned to Ottawa. Although he’d travel to play in other locales, like Dunnville, those brief months in Battleford must have made an impression.

After graduating in 1915, he waited or took a break. He continued to play amateur sports with the Ottawa Club. In Fall 1915, he injured his foot playing football, which may have required an operation. The injury possibly caused him to change his mind on professional hockey. However, the discussions between the Aberdeens (Amateur) and Coach Alfred Smith of the professional Ottawa Senators. Or, may be, it was conversations with his long time friend, Dink Madden.

In 1915, the newspapers expected Eddie to attend McGill University like his friend Dink. Instead, Eddie spent the year wandering from 1915 until 1916. During this time, he managed the Aberdeen’s amateur hockey team. Also, he played amateur sports with Dink Madden. In November 1916, Eddie and Dink surprised Ottawa by moving to Pittsburgh.

Eddie and Dink attended University of Pittsburgh to study Dentistry. They played hockey with the city’s famous Pittsburgh All-Stars, or YellowJackets. During the 1917/18 season, they also played in the National Amateur Hockey League with the All-Stars. In May 1918, they received their draft notice from Canada. Unlike four of their colleagues who joined the U.S. Army, Eddie and Dink traveled back to Canada to enlist. They chose to take a commission in the Royal Navy as Surgeon Probationers.

Eddie reunited with Dink in Pittsburgh in 1919 in time for school and hockey season. They continued to play with the All-Stars. After hockey, war and other events, Eddie and Dink graduated as dentists in June 1920.

Eddie and Dink had at least one last adventure together. Dink traveled to Ottawa to be witness for Eddie’s marriage. On July 14, 1920, Eddie married Kathleen Shamon. While Dink returned to Pittsburgh, Eddie and Kathleen moved back to Saskatoon and Battleford.

After starting up his practice, Eddie remained active in amateur sports, especially hockey. He played into his final years of life for the School for the Deaf. Additionally, he became renowned in trapshooting. He and Kathleen loved travel. On a cruise ship near San Fransisco, Dr. Edmund Nagle passed away on June 24, 1966. Eddie Nagle left behind a legacy of sports, dedication and community.

Sources:
St. Joseph Church History
CEF Enlistment Paperwork, Library and Archives Canada
UK Naval List, July 1919
Marriage Certificate, Courtesy of Ancestry.com (paid account required)
School for the Deaf, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Nagle’s Obituary, Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon) courtesy of newspaper.com
Montreal Gazette
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Journal
Saskatoon Daily Star
Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon)
Pittsburgh Press