The 38-Year Old Rookie: How Injuries Opened the NHL Door for a Veteran Journeyman

Connie Madigan was a force in the minor leagues for 15 seasons before finally getting a crack at the NHL

Cornelius ‘Connie’ Madigan didn’t raise many eyebrows when he made his NHL debut on Feb. 6, 1973, with the St. Louis Blues. The team was so beset by injuries that 12 defensemen suited up for them that season.

However, the 38-year-old Madigan set a record that night that still stands: he was the oldest rookie to play in the NHL. And with today’s game being all about speed, it’s a safe bet that distinction will never be surpassed.

Back then, Madigan didn’t know he was setting a record. He was just happy to finally get a shot in the NHL. “Blues broadcaster Dan Kelly told me after a game that I was the oldest NHL rookie,” said Madigan, now 84. “I told him it should have been a long time ago.”

Don Cherry, who played with and against Madigan in the minors, added: “Connie should have gotten his chance when he was in his 20s or early 30s. He would have been a lot better. But a lot of guys were like him and never got a shot.” Read the rest of the story at The Hockey News.