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From the time that he donned his skates at the age of five, to the day that he hung them up some 35 years later, this Port Arthur born athlete's dedication saw him enjoy a close to 20 year professional hockey career. Developing his defensive skills with the Port Arthur Bruins during the early 1950s, Connie became well known to local players, fans and referees, as a true enforcer, a reputation he would carry with him throughout his hockey career.

On track for a professional career, he played with teams in British Columbia before joining the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League in 1959-60. Claiming the IHL title that year, he was named a First Team All-Star. Moving into the Western Hockey League with the Spokane Comets in the 1962-63 season he set a WHL rookie record for a defenceman by scoring 37 points.

Donning jersey #25 for the Portland Buckaroos in the 1964-65 season, he remained on their squad for 11 seasons, helping them to 6 first place regular season finishes and WHL championship titles in both 1964-65 and 1970-71. Named a first team WHL All-Star five consecutive times from 1965-71, he was named the WHL Top Defenceman for 1965-66. Not one to shy away from the penalty box, 'Mad Dog', as he came to be known, gained a reputation for his tough defensive play, earning a career record of 2385 penalty minutes. At the same time, however, his hard shot and offensive abilities saw him earn the most career points by a Portland defenceman including 67 goals and 316 assists.

It was his intense dedication and 'win at any cost' attitude which would allow Connie to realize a personal goal. In 1973 the St. Louis Blues acquired him from Portland and told him to report to their WHL affiliate the Denver Spurs. Calling up St. Louis Vice-President Lynn Patrick he informed him that he wanted to play for the Blues or be traded. And so it was on February 6, 1973 that Connie, at the age of 38, skated onto the ice in a St. Louis Blues uniform, and into the record books, as the oldest rookie ever to play in the NHL. Retiring from the professional ranks with Portland following the 1974-75 season, Connie's dream had been realized as his record of 956 games played included 20 in the NHL.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 29, 2001

Connie Madigan

Port Arthur
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