Gardiner was one of the NHL's top goalies in the late 1920s and early 1930s before he died on June 13, 1934, six months before his 30th birthday. His death came two months after his goaltending helped the Chicago Black Hawks win the Stanley Cup for the first time since entering the NHL in 1926. He's still the only NHL goalie to be captain of a Cup-winning team, and he was a key in putting hockey on the map in Chicago.
Though Gardiner was born on Edinburgh, Scotland, he and his family moved to Winnipeg before his seventh birthday. He played junior and senior hockey in Winnipeg, where he drew the attention of the Black Hawks, who brought him to Chicago for the 1927-28 season, their second in the NHL. Though he finished with a 2.83 goals-against average as a rookie and a 1.85 GAA in 1928-29, Gardiner was 13-61 with 10 ties during those seasons, playing behind one of the weakest offenses in League history.