Herb Gardiner

Herbert Martin Gardiner (May 8, 1891 – January 11, 1972) was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played for the Calgary Tigers of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) and the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Black Hawks of the National Hockey League (NHL). Additionally, he was the head coach of the Black Hawks for part of the 1928–29 NHL season. Gardiner was a member of the WCHL champion Tigers in 1924 and in 1927 won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player after playing every minute of every game for the Canadiens. He coached several minor professional teams in Philadelphia following his retirement as a player. Gardiner was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958.

Herb Gardiner
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1958
Herb Gardiner.jpg
Gardiner with the Montreal Canadiens
Born (1891-05-08)May 8, 1891
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Died January 11, 1972(1972-01-11) (aged 80)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for Calgary Tigers
Montreal Canadiens
Chicago Black Hawks
Playing career 1921–1929

Early lifeEdit

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1891, Gardiner first played senior hockey in that city in 1908 before moving on to other pursuits. He began a career as a banker in 1909, winning the Winnipeg banker's league hockey title. He stopped playing entirely for four years as he took on a job as a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He joined the Canadian Army in 1915 and fought for three years in World War I before earning a medical discharge. Returning from the war, Gardiner resumed his surveyors job and settled in Calgary, Alberta.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Gardiner in 1919–20 as a member of the Calgary Wanderers.

Returning to hockey, Gardiner joined the Calgary Wanderers of Alberta's Big-4 League in 1919 then shifted to the Calgary Tigers one season later.[2] He turned professional at the age of 29 in 1921–22 when the Tigers joined the newly formed Western Canada Hockey League,[3] and quickly established himself as one of the league's top defencemen.[4] He was a key member of the Tigers' team that won the 1923–24 WCHL championship.[5] Gardiner and the Tigers lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup final,[6] but his performance impressed the Montreal organization.[3] When the WCHL collapsed in 1926, the Canadiens purchased his rights and invited him to join their team.[7]

Gardiner made his NHL debut in 1926 at the age of 35 and immediately showed himself to be one of the league's top defenders.[4] Playing on a rebuilding Montreal team, he was said to have played every minute of every game for the Canadiens,[1] a feat that earned him the nickname of "the ironman of hockey".[8] He was named the winner of the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player, nine votes ahead of Bill Cook of the New York Rangers.[9] As of 2010, Gardiner remains the second-oldest player to ever win the award, after Eddie Shore and along with Wayne Gretzky is one of only two players to be named most valuable in their first year in the league.[8]

Gardiner again appeared in all 44 games the Canadiens played in 1927–28, but was loaned to the Chicago Black Hawks to start the 1928–29 NHL season.[4] Serving as a player-coach in Chicago, Gardiner appeared in 13 games as a player,[2] but posted a dismal 5–23–4 record as coach.[1] Montreal recalled him from Chicago in February 1929 and he finished his NHL career with the Canadiens.[2] His rights were sold to the Boston Bruins following the season, before he was purchased by the Philadelphia Arrows of the Canadian-American Hockey League who named him as their head coach. Gardiner remained with the team, renamed the Philadelphia Ramblers in 1935-36, who subsequently joined the American Hockey League as an affiliate of the New York Rangers.[10] He led the Ramblers to the Calder Cup finals in 1937 and 1939.[3] Gardiner continued coaching until 1946. In 1947, efforts were made to relocate the suspended Montreal Maroons franchise to Philadelphia.[11] The organization named Gardiner the general manager of the proposed Philadelphia Maroons but the team was never launched.[3] He remained in Philadelphia following his retirement, living in the city until his death in 1972.[1]

Gardiner was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958,[3] and is honoured by the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.[12]

Career statisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1919–20 Calgary Wanderers Big-4 12 8 9 17 6 2 0 0 0 2
1920–21 Calgary Tigers Big-4 13 3 7 10 6
1921–22 Calgary Tigers WCHL 24 4 1 5 6 2 0 0 0 0
1922–23 Calgary Tigers WCHL 29 9 3 12 9
1923–24 Calgary Tigers WCHL 22 5 5 10 4 7 3 1 4 0
1924–25 Calgary Tigers WCHL 28 12 8 20 18 2 0 0 0 0
1925–26 Calgary Tigers WHL 27 3 1 4 10
1926–27 Montreal Canadiens NHL 44 6 6 12 26 4 0 0 0 10
1927–28 Montreal Canadiens NHL 44 4 3 7 26 2 0 1 1 4
1928–29 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 13 0 0 0 0
1928–29 Montreal Canadiens NHL 7 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 2
WCHL totals 130 33 18 51 47 11 3 1 4 0
NHL totals 108 10 9 19 59 9 0 1 1 16

Coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division rank Result
CHI 1928–29 32 5 23 4 14 5th in American (Fired)
Total 32 5 23 4 14


  1. ^ a b c d Podnieks, Andrew (2003). Players: The ultimate A–Z guide of everyone who has ever played in the NHL. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. p. 278. ISBN 0-385-25999-9.
  2. ^ a b c "Herb Gardiner statistics". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Herb Gardiner biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  4. ^ a b c "Herb Gardiner biography". Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  5. ^ "Tigers are Western Canada Hockey League champions". Calgary Herald. 1924-03-08. p. 20.
  6. ^ "Tigers returning, minus Cup". Calgary Herald. 1924-03-26. p. 16.
  7. ^ "Herb Gardiner to be with Canadiens". Montreal Gazette. 1926-10-20. p. 16. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  8. ^ a b Kay, Jason (ed.) (2009), "A Century of Montreal Canadiens", The Hockey News, p. 48, ISSN 0018-3016CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Herb Gardiner is voted most useful player in league". Montreal Gazette. 1927-03-26. p. 21. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  10. ^ "Gardiner in Winnipeg". Montreal Gazette. 1935-10-09. p. 13. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  11. ^ Coleman, Charles L. (1969). The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol II. Progressive Publications.
  12. ^ "Herb Gardiner biography". Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2010-07-04.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Nels Stewart
Winner of the Hart Trophy
Succeeded by
Howie Morenz
Preceded by
Hughie Lehman
Head coach of the Chicago Black Hawks
Succeeded by
Dick Irvin