Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Born on this date in 1881, Jimmy Gardner began his hockey career with the Montreal Hockey Club. The club was affiliated with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association and is commonly referred to as "Montreal AAA" in the record books.
He first skated for the club during a game in the 1900-01 season and then played in all eight games of the 1901-02 season, helping the Montreal Hockey Club to a 6-2 record and a first place finish. Their first place finish earned them the right to challenge the Winnipeg Victorias for the Stanley Cup. The best-of-three series was held in Winnipeg with the Victorias taking Game 1 by a score of 1-0. Montreal came back strong in Game 2, evening the series with a dominant 5-0 win and won their challenge with a narrow 2-1 win in the decisive Game 3. The much larger Winnipeg team hit the players from Montreal again and again in the series, but refused to be run out of the building, earning them the nickname "The Little Men of Iron".
1902 Stanley Cup Champions the Montreal Hockey Club
A challenge for the cup arrived from the Winnipeg Victorias in January of 1903, with the first game held in Montreal on January 29th. Montreal easily won the first game by a score of 8-1 with the second game ending in a 2-2 tie after it was suspended after 27 minutes of overtime due to a curfew. Winnipeg evened the series with a 4-2 win before Montreal successfully defended the cup with a 4-1 win to take the series 2 games to 1 with Gardner scoring a goal in the series.
For the 1903-04 season, Gardner moved to the brand new Montreal Wanderers of the Federal Amateur Hockey League, dominating the league with a 6-0 record. Gardner scored 5 goals in the six games. As winners of the league, the Wanderers earned the right to challenge the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup. The first game in Montreal reached the end of regulation tied at 5-5 and the Wanderers refused to play the overtime with the same referee in charge! The trustees of the cup ordered the series restarted with both games scheduled for Ottawa, but Montreal refused and the series never resumed.
Gardner turned professional for the 1904-05 season, skating for the Calumet Miners of the International Hockey League, where he scored 16 goals in 23 games. He returned to Calumet in 1905-06 before playing for the Pittsburgh Professionals, also of the IHL, in 1906-07, where he scored 10 goals and 18 points in 20 games.
Gardner - 1906-07 Pittsburgh Pros
He returned to Montreal for the 1907-08 season, this time with the Shamrocks, who finished in last place. Gardner then rejoined the defending Stanley Cup holders, the Montreal Wanderers for the 1908-09 season, in which he scored 11 goals in 12 games.
Prior to the start of the 1909-10 season, the Wanderers would face a challenge for the Stanley Cup from the Edmonton Hockey Club, whom they would defeat 13-10 in a two-game total-goal series 7-3 and 7-6. With the 1909-10 season underway, Gardner contributed 10 goals in 12 games as the Wanderers dominated with an 11-1 record and took possession of the Stanley Cup. They then defended against a challenge from the Berlin Dutchmen of the Ontario Professional Hockey League by a score of 7-3 to earn Gardner his fourth Stanley Cup.
1910 Stanley Cup Champions Montreal Wanderers
After another season with the Wanderers, Gardner moved out west to play for the New Westminster Royals of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, scoring 11 goals in 28 games over two seasons.
Once more, Gardner would return to Montreal, this time with the Canadiens, for whom he was named team captain. He played the 1913-14 season with 19 points in 15 games and then played two games in 1914-15 to close out his playing career.
He then went on to become a referee as well as being a coach before being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
Today's featured jersey is a 1909-10 Montreal Wanderers Jimmy Gardner jersey. The Wanderers jerseys featured a wide red band across the chest, which would have eventually become as iconic as the jerseys of the Canadiens had the club survived.
The Wanderers were originally founded in 1903 as a result of a dispute over control of the Montreal Hockey Club, and many of it's original roster came from the Montreal AAA.
The Wanderers would hold the Stanley Cup during it's challenge days at various times in 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910, including five straight defenses from March 1907 to December 1908.
As was the case in the early days of organized hockey, the Wanderers shifted from league to league, eventually becoming a member of the National Hockey Association and then became one of the founding members of the National Hockey League in 1917. Unfortunately, after only four games of play in the new league, the Wanderers home rink, the Montreal Arena, burned down on January 2, 1918 and the team ceased operations.