Darrin Madeley was the classic late bloomer.
Born just outside of Newmarket, Ontario, Madeley only played junior B hockey through to the age of 20. As a result he was never drafted by a NHL team.
Madeley decided to focus on his education, but kept playing. He attended Lake Superior State as a 21 year old freshman. He would stay three seasons, earning All-American and All Star status not to mention a business administration degree.
Madeley led the entire CCHA in wins in 1990-91 with a fantastic record of 29-3-3. He then led the Lakers to a NCAA championship in 1991-92 with a 23-6-4 record.
The expansion Ottawa Senators signed the mature puckstopper as a free agent in 1992. After a season apprenticing in the minor leagues, the 25 year old Madeley would become a nice story in 1993-94 when he became a regular goalie with the Senators. It was a heart warming story of overcoming long odds that we can all relate to.
Unfortunately for Madeley, the odds to further success seemed longer than ever once he made the NHL. The Ottawa Senators were really struggling, and Madeley and became something of a sitting duck in a shooting gallery with the Senators defense being all but non-existent on too many nights. In 39 career games played in Ottawa, he would win just four.
Madeley would bounce around the minor leagues for more than four seasons after his last NHL game. He briefly was in the San Jose Sharks system but never played for that NHL club.