Monday, June 10, 2013

Absurd Goalie Monday: Jack McCartan

While many of the past goalies have toiled at their craft to be successful, this week's AGM took an unusual route. While he may not have been outfitted from the start, he lucked into the position and thanks to his baseball background, he was able to excel in net with a solid glove hand. This week, the profile of Jack McCartan.

McCartan fell into the goalie position, playing the spot in youth hockey when all the players too rotations in net, but didn't have the proper gear for it. McCartan acquire the gear of a friend, which enabled him to play for St. Paul Marshall High School and while his team was often defeated, McCartan played well enough to be name to the All-City Team in his senior season of 1953.

While he was recruited for a baseball scholarship, McCartan was lured back into hockey when at the University of Minnesota by hearing the puck bang against the boards when going to ball practice. After playing for the freshman team to start, McCartan played with the Golden Gophers for 67 games from 1955-56 until 1957-58, being named to the WCHA First All-Star Team in 1957 and 1958, and named to the NCAA First All-American Team in 1958.

McCartan continued his amateur aspirations in order to try out for the Olympic team, playing for the US National Team in the 1958-59 season for 29 games. McCartan did make the 1960 Olympic team, playing the unlikely hero for the underdog team that won the Gold Medal, as McCartan went a perfect 5-0-0 during the games and being named the Best Goaltender for the Olympics.

That exposure was notice by the New York Rangers, who signed him to a try-out contract following the Olympics, where he would play in four games and go 1-1-2 before being sent down to the Central League's Minneapolis Rangers for five games. The 1960-61 season had McCartan play only eight games for the Rangers (1-6-1), then being sent to the Eastern Pro League's Kitchener-Waterloo Beavers for the duration of the season, finishing with a 25-21-6 record in that span and 3-4 in the playoffs. Staying with the Beavers for the 1961-62 season, McCartan played in 70 games and posted a 36-24-10 record, then 3-4 again in the playoffs.

The Rangers would trade off McCartan to the WHL's Los Angeles Blades in the inter-league trade. McCartan played with the Blades for the 1962-63 season, putting up a 31-27-2 record, then 1-2 in three playoff games.

The Chicago Blackhawks would claim McCartan in the inter-league draft before the 1963-64 season, being relegated to the Central Pro League's St. Louis Braves and went 31-30-6 and 2-4 in the playoffs. McCartan only played in five games for the Braves in the 1964-65 season, going 1-4-0 before being on the move again.

The Blackhawks traded McCartan back to the LA Blades for the rest of the 1964-65 season, going 8-22-2 in the last 32 games of that year. McCartan stayed in the WHL for the 1965-66 season for the San Francisco Seals, going 23-27-3 in 53 games, while in the 1966-67 season for the California Seals; McCartan put up a 25-26-10 record, then 2-3 in the playoffs.

The 1967-68 season had McCartan playing in the CPHL again, this time for the Omaha Knights, but would go 9-25-7 in the 43 games he played.

After some summer shuffling, McCartan landed with the San Diego Gulls before the 1968-69 season, posting a 20-14-6 record in his first season there. Coming back for the 1969-70 season, McCartan got more games under his belt, finishing with a 21-20-9 record then 0-3 for the playoffs, while during the 1970-71 season, McCartan finished with a 24-20-11 record and 2-4 in the playoffs. Finally in the 1971-72 season with the Gulls, McCartan played in 36 games and posted a 14-16-2 record, then 0-2 in the playoffs.

With the WHA coming along, it gave McCartan another shot at the pros, as he was picked up by the Minnesota Fighting Saints in the 1972-73 season, playing in 38 games and having a 15-19-1 record, but only saw two games of action in the 1973-74 season for the Saints, but only in relief. McCartan went to the Southen League during the 1973-74 season for the Sun Coast Suns for six games (no record provide) as well. McCartan came back to the Saints for the 1974-75 season for two games, going 1-0-0 before hanging up the pads for good.

Post playing career, McCartan was a scout for the Vancouver Canucks for a time before he retired to Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

For not directly wanting to play goalie, McCartan got a lot of mileage from his career thanks to being able to get equipment from a friend and being lured back into hockey just from the sound of the puck hitting the boards in college. Though he toiled in the minors, his amateur career was more than enough for him to be remembered for the long run.

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