Former faculty member and successful St. Mark's ice hockey coach Bruce Gardner died on Monday morning, February 25. He was 94.
Bruce Gardner taught French and served as College Counselor at St. Mark's for thirteen years. He also coached boys' varsity hockey at St. Mark's from 1975-76 through 1985-86, collecting 142 wins (second-best all-time for St. Mark's hockey and the most SM hockey coaching victories in the last 50 years), three Barber Tournament titles, and seven ISL championships. He would coach three future NHL players (Doug Brown '82, Scott Young '85, and Greg Brown '86) and two future St. Mark's head coaches (Greg Cappello '81 and Scott Young '85).
A 1948 U.S. Olympian (on the AAU team, which did not play due to controversy surrounding a rival AHA Olympic lineup), Gardner starred at center for Colgate University and coached for sixteen years at Hebron Academy before coming to St. Mark's. He is a member of Colgate's Athletic Hall of Honor and Hebron's Athletic Hall of Fame.
It had been more than a decade since St. Mark's had a winning varsity hockey season when Bruce Gardner led the Lions to the ISL Eberhard Division title in 1976. His efforts revitalized the game at St. Mark's. Over the four decades following his first ISL championship, St. Mark's boys' varsity hockey has won as many as 500 games and captured more than 25 titles.
Coach Gardner was last on the St. Mark's campus for the 2017 Alumni Hockey game. There he was able to reunite with dozens of his former players at the Gardner Rink (no relation). At the luncheon following the contest, Ebby Gerry '76—Bruce Gardner's first All-ISL goaltender at St. Mark's—presented his former coach with the traditional hard hat, honoring the MVP of the alumni game.
Gardner is survived by his daughter Beth McCabe and his son Duncan Gardner (SM Class of 1978).