Charles Robert "Chuck" Gardiner - Born December 31, 1904 in Edinburgh, Scotland – Died June 13, 1934 in Winnipeg, Manitoba was a ice Hockey goaltender.
Gardiner played junior ice Hockey with the Winnipeg Tigers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League / MJHL for three seasons, from 1921 to 1924.
Gardner then joined the Selkirk Fishermen senior team for the 1924–25 season. He appeared in 18 games for Selkirk, posting two shutouts and a 1.83 goals against average.
Gardner then turned pro with the Winnipeg Maroons of the Central Hockey League / CHL, and appeared in 74 games over 2 seasons, posting 12 shutouts, and 2.14 and 2.16 goals-against average in the two seasons, respectively.
Gardiner made his NHL debut with the Chicago Black Hawks on November 15, 1927 vs the Boston Bruins at Boston Arena in a 1-1 OT tie.
Gardiner got his 1st NHL victory vs Montreal Maroons on November 17, 1927 at The Forum in a 3-2 Chicago win. His 1st NHL shutout was vs Detroit Cougars at Chicago Coliseum in a 0-0 OT tie. (Hap Holmes was in net for Detroit)
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 7–29–8 record. Gardiner posted five shutouts and a 1.85 goals against average that season.
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, but his total number of shutouts fell 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 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, and was named to the NHL First All-Star team. In the playoffs, Chicago advanced to the Stanley Cup final, losing 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 an 18–19–11 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. During the season, Gardiner began to develop a tonsil infection that drained his strength. While he initially kept the infection private, Gardiner made his condition public on December 23, 1932.
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 NHL All-Star team.
Before the beginning of the 1933–34 season, Gardiner's teammates unanimously elected him captain. In January 1934 the Black Hawks were on a train back to Chicago when Gardiner felt an intense pain in his throat that spread to the rest of his body, notably his kidneys. When questioned by Tommy Gorman about his issue, Gardiner lied to Gorman and insisted it was only a minor headache. However, when Gardiner woke up on the train in the morning, he had trouble seeing, as black spots obscured his vision. This was Gardiner's first uremic convulsion. 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 NHL 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 Game, playing goaltender for the All-Stars, who played against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Gardiner's health continued to be an issue throughout the 1934 NHL playoffs. On March 29, 1934 in a playoff game against the Montreal Maroons Gardiner had a shutout as the Black Hawks won 3–0; though he was named first star as the best player of the game, Gardiner was in extreme pain during the entire game with a fever of 102 Fahrenheit and was attended to by a doctor in the dressing room during intermissions. Gardiner had a 6–1–1 record in the playoffs, with two shutouts and a 1.33 goals against average, as Chicago won the 1934 Stanley Cup championship, a first in franchise history.
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 Wednesday, June 13, 1934, from a brain hemorrhage brought on by the infection.
- Gardiner was the first goaltender who caught with his right hand to win the Vezina Trophy.
- Gardner is the only NHL goaltender to captain his team to a Stanley Cup victory.
- In 1945, Charlie Gardiner became a charter member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- Charlie Gardiner was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 1957.
- Charlie Gardiner is an Honored Member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, inducted in 1975.
- Charles Gardiner was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1989.