|Jack McCartan had been an All-American twice at the University of Minnesota and had played for the United States at the World Championships in 1959. Still, he was only a late addition to the U.S. Olympic hockey team in 1960, on loan from the U.S. Army. Like Jim Craig at Lake Placid in 1980, it was McCartan who was most responsible for the surprising gold medal victory with his brilliant goaltending at Squaw Valley.
McCartan was at his best in the Americans' surprising 2-1 win over Canada during the medal round. He made 38 saves, including 20 in the second period, in a loss that Harry Sinden of the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen referred to as "shocking to us." McCartan was also stellar two days later in preserving the Americans first ever win over the Soviet Union. The 3-2 victory all but clinched the gold medal for the United States, who made it official with a 9-4 win over Czechoslovakia in the final game.
After the Olympics, McCartan appeared in four games with the New York Rangers. He played eight games for the Rangers in 1960-61, but would never again play in the NHL in a professional career that lasted until 1974-75.