Though his promise as a hockey player was well known, McFadyen opted for an unusual next step in his hockey career. Instead of turning pro or potentially earning even more money on a company sponsored senior team somewhere. While there was undoubtedly interest, McFadyen opted for the halls of academia, a very unusual route for a future NHL player back then.
"I got an athletic scholarship at Marquette University in Milwaukee, and we won a couple of intercollegiate championships there."
He earned All-America acclaim from 1928-30 and served as captain of the 1928-1929 squad. Marquette won intercollegiate championships in 1928, 1929 and 1930. In 1972 he would be inducted into the Marquette University Athletics Hall of Fame, the only hockey player to be so honored.
McFadyen left school in 1930 after receiving two offers from professional teams in Chicago.
"The NHL didn't want to allow Jim Norris in," he said, "So he put a team into the American Association called the Chicago Shamrocks. The Black Hawks offered me $3,000 but the Shamrocks offered $4,000, so I decided to go with them. That was a good league then, with St. Louis, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Tulsa and cities like that."
Norris would join the NHL a couple of years later, gaining control of the Black Hawks. McFadyen followed in suit, "but they cut my salary back to $3,000."
McFadyen would be a quiet role player in his NHL tour. He played in 179 games, scoring 12 career goals and 25 points. He was a utility forward who could be used to spot star players from time to time.
The highlight of McFadyen's career came in 1934 when he was part of the Black Hawks team to win the Stanley Cup! McFadyen was an unlikely playoff hero that year. He only scored one lonely goal in the regular season, but scored two crucial tallies in the semi-final against the Montreal Maroons. That advanced the team to the Stanley Cup finals where they knocked off Detroit.
McFadyen would spend his summers completing his education, attending the University of Chicago law school. By 1936 he quit hockey to practice law, although for four years he worked in the NHL as a linesman.
After serving in World War II McFadyen set up his own law practice in Chicago. He stayed in touch with the local hockey scene, counting many clients as hockey fans. But he would eventually have enough of the winters and picked up shop and moved to Florida. He practiced law for 25 years in Pompano Beach. He was also elected an associate judge in the municipal court of Pompano and served for three years before retiring.
Don McFadyen died on March 26th, 1990.
Special thanks to Jennifer Conway