Early in his 10-year career in the NLL the Brock University graduate counted on the salary he earned as a professional athlete to augment student loans for the four-year program at New York Chiropractic College.
“The money is pretty good for a weekend job,” says Maddalena, who usually leaves his home in Grand Island. N.Y., on Friday afternoon and returns on Sunday.
After first hanging out his shingle in Buffalo, where he made his pro lacrosse debut with the Bandits, Maddalena is now in his second year operating the Accelerated Health & Wellness Centre, a “patient-oriented” facility that in addition to chiropractic care offers laser and massage therapy as well as acupuncture, custom orthotics and physiotherapy.
His expanding practice and his work with the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs and the Niagara Spears of the Ontario Varsity Football League has not gone unnoticed. In November, the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce honoured the Notre Dame graduate as its Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2008.
Despite this recognition as a rising all-star in the business community, this established all-star in professional lacrosse isn’t about to hang up his stick and call it a career in the National Lacrosse League.
His burning desire to excel at Canada’s national sport remains as fiery as it was when he first started playing organized lacrosse in Pelham, when Welland didn’t have minor lacrosse, or in 2002, when he was hailed as Brock University’s male athlete of the year.
“I still love the game, I still love playing.”
Maddalena, who also saw action with the Columbus Landsharks and the now-defunct Arizona Sting after leaving the Bandits, also would like to complete a little unfinished business before he retires. He would like to play on at least one championship team before he joins the ranks of spectator on a full-time basis.
As far as the prolific goal scorer is concerned, a professional athlete’s resume of accomplishments on the playing field is incomplete without a title or two.
“How you define a great athlete from a good athlete is the great athlete has won a championship.”
Championing the Concerns of His Patients
But one only needs to hear NLL all-star Pat Maddalena talk for a few minutes to appreciate that pro lacrosse is his weekend job and only during the season. Dr. Pat Maddalena is far more interested these days in championing the concerns of his patients and working with them to prescribe the best treatment regimen.
“This is a team approach, too: we put the needs of the patient first and do what’s right for them,” he says of his Accelerated Health & Treatment Centre.
Fittingly enough, the full-range facility is located just north of Jack Gatecliff Arena on Geneva Street and in the same strip plaza as Gatter’s Pro Shop, a sporting goods store that specializes in – what else? – lacrosse gear.
Maddalena first began considering chiropractic as a career when he was 10 and accompanied his mother to the treatments she was receiving in hopes of easing severe headaches.
“Naturally for a kid, it seemed scary at first, but it worked. Mom started feeling better.”
The encounter that cemented Maddalena’s commitment to become a chiropractor occurred after he injured his clavicle playing minor hockey and was told it would take six weeks to heal. Eager to return to the lineup, he sought treatment from a chiropractor.
“I was back on the ice in two weeks.”
Sometimes the line separating his weekday work in the clinic and his weekend work on the floor at such arenas as Madison Square Gardens can become blurred. Teammates have come up to Maddalena seeking advice and, in some cases, on-the-spot adjustments, but he doesn’t want to cross that line and become more than a teammate unless it’s in a professional capacity.
“I keep my two jobs separate, so one can be a break from the other.”
Still, having a great deal of knowledge about how the body functions best, from the skeletal and muscular structure out, can’t help but make Pat Maddalena the New York Titan a better lacrosse player.
“There’s no doubt it has made me a better athlete, because I know how to train,” says Maddalena, whose bread-and-butter move as a scorer in lacrosse is a quick snap of the wrist.
Maddalena and Jamie, his wife of three years, live in Grand Island, N.Y., with their two-year-old daughter Jaylee. The couple first met after the Buffalo Bandits played a home game.“I think we lost in overtime, but I don’t remember the score,” he recalls with a laugh.