From the time he first hit the ice for the New Jersey Devils, John Madden was a fan favorite of the Garden State faithfuls. “Mad Dog,” as he was affectionately nicknamed by his teammates, played the bulk of his 13-year career in the NHL for the Devils. Throughout his tenure in the professional ranks, Madden played in 898 games, scoring 165 goals and notching 183 assists for 348 points.
Not bad for the 40-year-old Madden who grew up in the projects of Parma Court in Toronto, Canada. Madden is one of the hard-hat stories who found a home in the pros after playing four years of college hockey for the University of Michigan. He would be signed as a free agent by the Devils on June 26, 1997. After toiling in the minors for two seasons, he would finally make the big club on a regular basis in the 1999-2000 season.
For Madden, it would be the start of a great relationship with the Devils. He would hoist the Stanley Cup twice in NJ, in 2000 and 2003. Madden would also be honored in 2001 with the Frank J. Selke award which is given to the best defensive forward.
After a decade in New Jersey, Madden and the Devils would part ways in the summer of 2009 when he became an unrestricted free agent. On July 1, he inked a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, which would turn out to be a fantastic move for him since he would add another Stanley Cup ring to his collection in the spring when the Blackhawks won the Cup.
Madden celebrated that special win on the ice with his two children, Tyler and Reese, as well as his wife Lauren, saying, “This is the best feeling I’ve ever had, other than the birth of these two right here.”
After that winning year, Madden would move a little further west and spend a season playing for the Minnesota Wild, but would find himself without a place to hang his skates at the start of the 2011-12 campaign.
Just after New Year’s in 2012, Madden would put on his helmet again for the Florida Panthers. His short stint in the Sunshine State would be his last in the NHL. Madden would officially retire on Sep. 4, 2012.
However, he wouldn’t have to think too long about what he was going to do with his life after hockey. Later that day, Madden would accept a position with the Montreal Canadians. Currently, Madden works with the Canadians amateur recruitment group and is primarily responsible for scouting and evaluating the free agent talent pool in the United States college hockey program.
A fitting job for the man who made his way to the NHL through USA college hockey as well as the free agent route, showing that it isn’t just the highly touted draft picks who get to take center ice and drink from the Stanley Cup.