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Charlie Gardiner
Cgardiner.jpg
Born December 31, 1904(1904-12-31)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died June 13, 1934(1934-06-13) (aged 29)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 176 lb (80 kg; 12 st 8 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Right
Played for Chicago Black Hawks (NHL)
Playing career 1927–1934
Hall of Fame, 1945

Charlie Gardnier (born on December 31, 1904) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played for the Chicago Black Hawks in the National Hockey League (NHL).

He joined the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1927–28 season. He played seven seasons with Chicago, winning two Vezina Trophies, earning three berths to the First All-Star team, and a berth to the Second All-Star team.

In 1934, Charlie became the only NHL goaltender to captain his team to a Stanley Cup win.

A few months after winning the Cup, he died from a brain hemorrhage brought on by a tonsillar infection at the age of 29 in 1934.

In 1945, he became posthumously a charter member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Playing CareerEdit

Early Playing CareerEdit

Charlie played junior ice hockey with the Winnipeg 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.

The Fishermen played in the highest amateur league in Manitoba and were finalists for the championship the year before.

Charlie appeared in 18 games for Selkirk, posting two shutouts and a 1.83 goals against average. They again reached the finals but lost to the Port Arthur Bearcats.

The loss made Charlie feel dejected and ashamed even though people assured him he had played well and had several offers for different teams. He decided to join the professional Winnipeg Maroons of the Central Hockey League (CHL).

As he would be a professional, Charlie was forced to give up his baseball career, which he was reluctant to do; he finished with a career batting average of .300.

Playing two seasons in Winnipeg, he appeared in 74 games, posting 12 shutouts, and 2.14 and 2.16 goals-against average in the two seasons, respectively.

Chicago Black HawksEdit

Charlie joined the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1927-28 NHL season. In his first season with the Black Hawks, He played in 40 out of 44 of Chicago's games.

Posting a 2.83 goals average, he won or tied only eight games, with three of those games being shutouts. The following season, he 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. Charlie posted five shutouts and a 1.85 goals against average that season.

On February 3, 1929, during a game against the New York Rangers, WJ Holmes (the manager of the Maroons) came to Chicago to watch Charlie play. The Rangers won the game 3–2 though he played well.

Even so Frederic McLaughlin, owner of the Hawks, offered to sell him back to Winnipeg for $3500. Only after Barney Stanley and Hugh Lehman talked to McLaughlin did he back down on the deal.

After being booed by the Chicago fans, Charlie 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, Charlie's goals against average rose by only 0.57, to 2.42.

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 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. Charlie recorded one of his best statistical years, recording 12 shutouts to go with a 1.73 goals against average.

Late in December of 1930, the New York Americans offered $10,000 to the Hawks in exchange for Gardiner, double his salary; McLaughlin refused the offer. 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, Charlie 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. Charlie posted four shutouts and a 1.85 goals against average. He 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. Charlie 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. Charlie 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, Charlie's teammates unanimously elected him captain. During the regular season, Chicago posted a 20–17–11 record. He 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, Charlie was a participant of the Ace Bailey Benefit Game, playing goaltender for the All-Stars, who played against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In the playoffs, Charlie 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 him in a wheelbarrow around Chicago's business district after a pre-playoff bet.

Illness & DeathEdit

During the 1932-33 NHL season, Charlie began to develop a tonsil infection that drained his strength. While he initially kept the infection private, he made his condition public on December 23, 1932.

Even though he was ill, Charlie played the next night in Toronto.

His fifty-five saves were the deciding factor in the Black Hawks win and his performance was so good that both league President Frank Calder and Maple Leafs star forward Charlie Conacher praised him, Charlie was so sick he would collapse on the dressing room floor in between periods with a fever of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the game, he was rushed to a local hospital. This was the first notable symptom of Charlie's health issues.

In January of 1934, the Black Hawks were on a train back to Chicago when Charlie 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, he lied to Gorman and insisted it was only a minor headache.

However when Charlie woke up on the train in the morning, he had trouble seeing as black spots obscured his vision. This was his first uremic convulsion.

Charlie's health continued to be an issue throughout the 1934 NHL playoffs.

On March 29, 1934 in a playoff game against the Montreal Maroon, Charlie had a shutout as the Black Hawks won 3–0; though he was named first star as the best player of the game, he 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.

Playing with a tonsillar infection for most of the season, Charlie was often slumped over his crossbar during breaks in games, nearly blacking out.

In June of 1934, after leaving for a singing lesson, Charlie collapsed & went into a coma from which he never woke up. On June 13, 1934, he died from a brain hemorrhage due to the infection.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T Min GA SO GAA GP W L T Min GA SO GAA
1921–22 Winnipeg Tigers MJHL 1 0 1 0 60 6 0 6.00
1922–23 Winnipeg Tigers MJHL 6 370 19 0 3.08
1923–24 Winnipeg Tigers MJHL 1 1 0 0 60 0 1 0.00
1924–25 Selkirk Fishermen MHL 18 1080 33 2 1,83 2 0 2 0 120 6 0 3.00
1925–26 Winnipeg Maroons CHL 38 2280 82 6 2.16 5 300 10 1 2.00
1926–27 Winnipeg Maroons AHA 36 17 14 5 2203 77 6 2.14 3 0 3 0 180 8 0 2.67
1927–28 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 40 6 32 2 2420 114 3 2.83
1928–29 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 44 7 29 8 2758 85 5 1.85
1929–30 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 44 21 18 5 2750 111 3 2.42 2 0 1 1 172 3 0 1.05
1930–31 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 44 24 17 3 2710 78 12 1.73 9 5 3 1 638 14 2 1.32
1931–32 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 18 19 11 2989 92 4 1.85 2 1 1 0 120 6 1 3.00
1932–33 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 16 20 12 3010 101 5 2.01
1933–34 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 20 17 11 3050 83 10 1.63 8 6 1 1 542 12 2 1.33
NHL totals 316 112 152 52 19687 664 42 2.02 21 12 6 3 1472 35 5 1.43

AccoladesEdit

NHLEdit

Award Year(s)
Vezina Trophy 1932, 1934
First All-Star Team Goaltender 1931, 1932, 1934
Second All-Star Team Goaltender 1933
Stanley Cup 1934

LegacyEdit

Charlie was the first goaltender who caught with his right hand to win the Vezina Trophy. He is the only NHL goaltender to captain his team to a Stanley Cup victory.

In 1945, he became a charter member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In 1998, Charlie was ranked number 76 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

He 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, Charlie played in 316 NHL games, winning 122, with a goals against average of 2.02 goals, and 42 shutouts.

In the playoffs, he appeared in 21 games, with a 1.43 goals against average and five shutouts.

When the Elite Ice Hockey League introduced a conference system in the 2012–13 season, one of its two conferences was named in honour of Charlie.

Personal LifeEdit

Charlie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the third son and fourth child of John and Janet Gardiner.

Along with his parents, older brothers John and Alexander, older sister Edith and younger sister Christina, he emigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba at age seven in 1911.

The family initially lived in a house on William Avenue before relocating to Alexander Street; both streets were south of the railways, and were full of Scottish-Irish working-class families.

John took a job as a rail car repairer and Charlie took an early interest in the trains, often waiting up late at night to watch them arrive into the city. He was enrolled at the Albert School, and befriended Wilf Cude, an immigrant child from Wales who would also go on to be an NHL goaltender.

When the First World War began in 1914, both of Charlie's brothers enlisted in the military and were sent overseas. His father John also enlisted, but he died on May 30, 1916 before he was sent overseas.

Both his brothers returned home after the war ended; while Alex was unharmed, John was seriously ill after he was involved in a poison gas attack and he died on December 13, 1928.

To help provide for the family, Charlie began working for the J.H. Ashdown Hardware Company at the age of twelve.

On August 6, 1927, Charlie married Myrtle Brooks at Grace United Church in Winnipeg. Their first child, a son named Robert Roy was born on May 20, 1929. They also had a daughter born on May 7, 1931, but she died after birth.

While working at the hardware store, Charlie first played organised sports as a member of the store's baseball team. Gardiner quickly started playing ice hockey, with the same passion as the children who were born in Canada.

Because he didn't learn to skate until he was eight-years-old, he couldn't skate very fast and was forced to play as the goaltender.

Charlie tried to play as a forward and defenceman, but he was too slow for either position. Playing on Winnipeg's frozen ponds, he employed an acrobatic style, instead of the nearly-universal stand-up style played in that era, to avoid having his hands and feet frostbitten.

Charlie joined the Victorias, a team in the Winnipeg City League, at the age of 13. He recorded a shutout in his first game, but the team was shut out in their following game, so he was cut.

By the age of 14, he made the intermediate team of the Selkirk Fishermen.

Aside from hockey, Charlie also excelled in rugby and joined the Winnipeg Tammany Tigers junior club in 1920.

He attended church services at Grace United Church in Winnipeg, the same place where he was married. He was also a Freemason and joined the St. John's Lodge in Winnipeg on April 21, 1926.

During the summer of 1933, Charlie was selected as a Shriner at the Lodge and at the age of 29, he was the youngest Shriner in the city.

Outside of hockey, Charlie enjoyed several different hobbies.

During one off-season from the Black Hawks, he began taking flying lessons from his former teammate Konrad Johannesson. He quickly learned how to fly solo and would buy shares in the Winnipeg Flying Club, which Johannesson had founded.

Charlie also enjoyed shooting rifles; in the summer of 1931, he was recognised for this when he was elected Field Secretary of the Winnipeg Gun Club.

The following summer, Charlie earned a certificate in business administration and sales from the International Correspondence Schools. He then became a partner in a sporting goods business and travelled across Western Canada in the summer to sell products to sports teams.

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