Born in Belfast, Ireland, Jim McFadden learned his hockey skills in the Carman area. After playing with Carman Beavers, he turned professional with Portland Buckaroos of the Pacific Coast League in 1939. McFadden played in the Quebec Senior League for Montreal Sr. Canadiens and Ottawa Senators and had three wartime seasons with Winnipeg Army. When he finally got his big league chance he was a seasoned player. He scored 24 goals and the same number of assists for Detroit Red Wings to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1947-48 at the age of 29. A centre, McFadden played four seasons with Detroit and two and part of a third with Chicago Black Hawks, scoring 100 goals. He was a member of Detroit's 1949-50 Stanley Cup championship team.
He once chalked up a hat trick in 50 seconds with Winnipeg Army and in his rookie NHL year scored twice in eight seconds against Chicago. Following three years with Calgary Stampeders of the Western Hockey League where he recorded 194 points, McFadden returned to the Carman area where he farmed and drove a school bus for many years. He also coached the Miami Rockets senior team for several seasons. Jimmy McFadden was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.