Dave and Paul Gardner were both products of the Ontario Hockey League (OMJHL at the time) in the early 1970’s. The older, Dave, played two stellar seasons with the Toronto Marlboros and Paul played two with the Oshawa Generals.
Dave Gardner played his years with the Marlboros in 1970-71 and 1971-72. His offensive talent was explosive with 56 goals and 137 points in his first season. That total paved the way for a Red Tilson Trophy victory as most outstanding player. His second season with the Marlies saw him play just 57 games but contribute 53 goals and 129 points.
Drafted in the first round of the 1972 NHL draft by the mighty Montreal Canadiens, eighth overall, Gardner saw limited action with the big club in his first season and a half of professional hockey before being shipped to the St. Louis Blues. Over his 350 game NHL career, Dave found regularity in the California Golden Seals / Cleveland Barons organization where he put in four solid seasons from 1974-75 until 1977-78.
Gardner also played two games with the Philadelphia Flyers as well as with a handful of AHL and CHL teams before leaving for Switzerland for the 1980-81 season. He played in Switzerland’s National League until 1984-85.
Dave’s son, Ryan Gardner, is also a graduate of the Ontario Hockey League and is currently playing in Switzerland’s National League A. Check out this previous post at OHL Alumni Central on Ryan Gardner.
Paul Gardner played his two seasons with Oshawa in 1974-75 and 1975-76. Although he didn’t nearly meet his brothers numbers in his rookie season, he topped Dave’s numbers in every way during the 1975-76 season. Paul played 65 games for the Generals, scored 69 times while assisting on 75 for 144 points. This tally was good enough for third in OMJHL scoring that season.
Paul was drafted by the Kansas City Scouts in the first round of the 1976 NHL draft, eleventh overall and soon became a regular with the Colorado Rockies after the Scouts were moved to Denver. Paul was also selected by the Toronto Toros in the second round of the 1976 WHA draft, 24th overall. With the Rockies, he scored 30 and totalled 59 points in just 60 games as a rookie. The following season, he would equal that goal scoring mark but in just 46 games. His best goal scoring numbers would come as a Pittsburgh Penguin with 34 in 1980-81 and 36 in 1981-82.
Over 447 NHL games with the Rockies, Toronto Maple Leafs, Penguins, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres, Gardner would contribute 402 points.
Paul was very successful in the AHL. He led the Baltimore Skipjacks with 81 points in 1983-84. In both 1984-85 and 1985-86, he won the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s MVP and the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s top point-getter. In 1984-85, he was also awarded the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship and perserverance. His totals in the AHL were an awesome 386 points in just 238 career games.
Paul went on to coach in pro hockey immediately upon retirement as a player. He has been a head coach in the AHL, Germany’s DEL and the Central Hockey League. Gardner was an assistant coach in both the AHL and NHL, most recently with the Nashville Predators from 1998-99 to 2002-03. He is currently the head coach of Lausitzer Füchse in Germany’s DEL2.