Treasures FROM THE HALL
HERB GARDINER | WCHL CHAMPIONS RING THOUGH THE 1923-24 CALGARY Tigers were swept in the bestof-three Stanley Cup final, they didn’t walk away empty-handed that season.
The Tigers captured the Western Canadian League title in an era when that league was on par with the NHL, earning championship rings in the process. Calgary then beat Vancouver, winners of the Pacific Coast Association, earning the right to battle the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup.
The owner of this ring was 33-year-old Tigers defenseman and coach Herb Gardiner. He was a rocksolid defensive stalwart who played 60 minutes a game and hit Howie Morenz so hard it knocked him over the boards. The champion Canadiens were so impressed that after the final game, coach-GM Leo Dandurand shook Gardiner’s hand and offered him a job on the Montreal blueline the following season.
Gardiner stayed in Calgary for two more years but joined the Canadiens at age 35. As a rookie, he again played 60 minutes every game, most of the time with future Hall of Famer Sylvio Mantha. So dominant in a shutdown role was Gardiner, that despite just 13 points in 44 games, he won the Hart Trophy as league MVP. He’s one of just three rookies to ever win the award.
Gardiner played two more NHL seasons before moving into coaching, first in Chicago, then the amateur and minor ranks in Philadelphia where he settled. In
1967, Gardiner became the first season-ticket holder of the expansion NHL Flyers, a gift from team owner Ed Snider. Gardiner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in
1958 and died at 80 in 1972. He and his wife had two daughters who have since passed away. They donated Herb’s ring to the Hall of Fame.