Charlie Gardiner
Charlie Gardiner.jpg
Position Goaltender
Shot Right
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
176 lb (80 kg)
Teams Chicago Black Hawks (NHL)
Nationality Canada
Born December 31, 1904,
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died June 13, 1934 (age 33),
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Pro Career 1927 – 1934
Hall of Fame, 1945

Charles Robert "Chuck" Gardiner (December 31, 1904 – June 13, 1934) was a Canadian professional goaltender who played for the Chicago Black Hawks in the National Hockey League. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Gardiner moved with his family to Canada as a child. Playing all of his junior hockey in or around Winnipeg, Manitoba, Gardiner joined the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1927–28 season. He played seven seasons with Chicago, winning two Vezina Trophies, earning three berths on the First All-Star team, and a berth on the Second All-Start team. In 1934, Gardiner became the only NHL goaltender to captain his team to a Stanley Cup win. A few months after winning the Cup, Gardiner died from a brain hemorrhage brought on by a tonsillar infection, at the age of 29. He became posthumously a charter member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.

Early Life[edit | edit source]

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Gardiner moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba with his family at age seven, in 1911. Gardiner quickly started playing ice hockey, with the same passion as the children who were born in Canada. A poor skater, he played goaltender as a child. Playing on Winnipeg's frozen ponds, Gardiner employed an acrobatic style, instead of the nearly-universal stand-up style played in that era, to avoid having his hands and feet frostbitten. By the age of 14, Gardiner made the intermediate team of the Selkirk Fishermen.

Pre-NHL Career[edit | edit source]

Gardiner played junior ice hockey with the Winnipeg Tammany Tigers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) for three seasons, from 1921 to 1924. He joined the Selkirk Fishermen senior team for the 1924–25 season. Gardiner appeared in 18 games for Selkirk, posting two shutouts and a 1.83 goals against average. However, the Fishermen were eliminated in the 1924-25 Manitoba Senior Playoffs, losing the two-game series 2–0. The following season, Gardiner joined the Winnipeg Maroons of the Central Hockey League (CHL), which was later renamed the American Hockey Association (AHA). Playing two seasons in Winnipeg, Gardiner appeared in 74 games, posting 12 shutouts, and 2.14 and 2.16 goals-against average in the two seasons, respectively.

Chicago Black Hawks[edit | edit source]

Gardiner (far bottom right) at the Ace Bailey Benefit All-Star Game

Gardiner joined the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1927–28 season. In his first season with the Black Hawks, Gardiner played in 40 out of 44 of Chicago's games. Posting a 2.83 goals average, Gardiner won or tied only eight games, with three of those games being shutouts. The following season, Gardiner appeared in all of 44 of Chicago's games. Known as the NHL's "goalless wonders", Chicago scored only 33 goals the entire season, finishing with a 7–29–28 record. Gardiner posted five shutouts and a 1.85 goals against average that season. After being booed by the Chicago fans, Gardiner nearly retired, before being talked out of it by Duke Keats.

After the NHL changed its rules to allow forward passing in the offensive zone in the 1929–30 season, goal scoring increased league-wide. While Chicago increased its goals scored to 117, Gardiner's goals against average rose by only 0.57, to 2.42. Gardiner's total number of shutouts fell only by two, from five to three. Chicago improved its regular season record to 21–18–15, placing second in the American Division, and making the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Black Hawks lost to the Montreal Canadiens 3–2 in a two-game, total-goal series, losing and tying one game. In the 1930–31 season, Chicago placed, once more, second in the American Division, with a 24–17–3 record. Gardiner recorded one of his best statistical years, recording 12 shutouts to go with a 1.73 goals against average. He was also named, for the first time, to the First All-Star team. In the playoffs, Chicago advanced to the Stanley Cup final, losing once more to the Montreal Canadiens, three games to two. Posting a 5–3–2 record in the playoffs, Gardiner had another two shutouts and a 1.32 goals against average.

In the 1931–32 season, Chicago posted a 18–19–7 regular season record. Gardiner posted four shutouts and a 1.85 goals against average. Gardiner was named to the First All-Star Team, and won the Vezina Trophy for his first time. Placing second in the American Division for the third season in a row, the Black Hawks lost a two-game, total-goal series 6–2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Gardiner posted a 1–1 playoff record, with one shutout and a 3.00 goals against average. In the 1932–33 season, Chicago missed the playoffs, with a 16-20-12 record, placing fourth in the American Division. Gardiner recorded five shutouts, with a 2.01 goals against average. He was named, for his only time, to the Second All-Star team.

Before the beginning of the 1933–34 season, Gardiner's teammates unanimously elected him captain. During the regular season, Chicago posted a 20–17–11 record. Gardiner had 10 shutouts, and a 1.63 goals against average. He was named for the third time to the First All-Star team, and won the Vezina Trophy for the second time. On February 14, 1934, he was a participant of the Ace Bailey Benefit All-Star Team, playing goaltender for the All-Stars, who played against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the playoffs, Gardiner had a 6–1–1 record, with two shutouts and a 1.33 goals against average, as Chicago won its first Stanley Cup in franchise history. During the Stanley Cup parade, Chicago defenseman Roger Jenkins carted Gardiner in a wheelbarrow around Chicago's business district after a pre-playoff bet.

Playing with a tonsillar infection for most of the season, Gardiner was often slumped over his crossbar during breaks in games, nearly blacking out. After leaving for a singing lesson in June 1934, Gardiner, a baritone, collapsed. He went into a coma, from which he never woke. Gardiner died at age 29, on June 13, 1934, from a brain hemorrhage brought on by the infection.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

He is the only NHL goaltender to captain his team to a Stanley Cup victory. In 1945, Gardiner became a charter member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1998, he was ranked number 76 on List of 100 greatest hockey players by The Hockey News. Gardiner is an Honored Member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. Overall, he played 316 NHL games, winning 122, with a goals against average of 2.02 goals, and 42 shutouts. In the playoffs, Gardiner appeared in 21 games, with a 1.37 goals against average and five shutouts.

Awards & Achievements[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Helge Bostrom
Chicago Black Hawks captains
Succeeded by
Johnny Gottselig
Preceded by
Roy Worters
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
Succeeded by
Tiny Thompson
Preceded by
Tiny Thompson
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
Succeeded by
Lorne Chabot
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