|Olympic medal record|
|Men's Ice hockey|
|Competitor for United States|
|Gold||1960 Squaw Valley||Ice hockey|
McCartan was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He was a college standout at the University of Minnesota. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army. While in the army, he joined the United States Olympic hockey team. His heroics helped the U.S. team defeat such powerful teams as Canada, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia and win the gold medal at 1960 Olympics.
He could not duplicate his success in the National Hockey League. The New York Rangers gave him a four-game trial late in the 1959–60 season and he did quite well, the highlight being a save on Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Alf Pike decided to alternate Gump Worsley and McCartan in 1960–61, but when McCartan gave up 36 goals in 7½ games, Worsley became the full-time goalkeeper and McCartan was demoted to the minors. He played for several minor league teams over the next several years. In the early 1970s, he resurfaced when the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association signed him, but he retired after two seasons.
He later scouted for the Vancouver Canucks.