Playing career Edit
McNamara attended the University of Notre Dame and played for their ice hockey team, earning a bachelor's degree in economics in 1983. After college, McNamara signed with the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, playing for the Rochester Americans, Buffalo's American Hockey League affiliate.
Front office Edit
McNamara's first front office experience came as the assistant general manager for the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL. On January 26, 1996, he was named the director of hockey operations and general manager of the Grand Rapids Griffins of the IHL. McNamara won the IHL's General Manager of the Year award for his efforts in building the Griffins in their inaugural season. McNamara also was instrumental in constructing the affiliation between the Griffins and the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL.