The “Gardiner Effect”

Photo Credit Vincent Ethier

The Saint John Sea Dogs have shocked the hockey world. Well, not really. Who would ever bet against a Gardiner MacDougall team?

After what seemed to be an eternity and unimaginable layoff mixed with a shocking coaching change, self-assessment, reflection and an arduous training camp, Gardiner MacDougall’s team took to the ice and turned in a dominant and inspired effort versus a sluggish Hamilton Bulldogs team.

 There’s no other way to put it, the “Gardiner Effect” was in full effect on Day 1 of the Memorial Cup.

For those that know the Sea Dogs well, there were still the normal breakdowns due in large part to over handling the puck and taking extra touches, but other than that, the Dogs played an extremely tight disciplined brand of hockey.

If you know Gardiner MacDougall coached teams, you know they are going to hunt pucks, push the pace of play and manage the puck as well as their emotions and that’s exactly what the Sea Dogs did last night.

A well balanced attack with energy from all four lines from the home side was enough to get past the Bulldogs. You see Gardiner MacDougall doesn’t reinvent the wheel, when it comes to the game of hockey he just inspires players to play at their best and play with energy, because that’s exactly how the team practices.

The story of the 2022 Memorial Cup as of right now is Gardiner MacDougall and his effect that he’s had on the Sea Dogs. This isn’t about the architect or the blueprint this is all about a hockey lifer who is incredibly passionate about the game and his players. The “Gardiner Effect” is quite simple, he holds players and people accountable. That’s no to say others haven’t tried in the Port City, but MacDougall just has a way about him. It could be his unrelenting positivity or fierce competitive spirit, players of any age would go through a wall for Gardiner MacDougall.

Why hasn’t MacDougall tried his hand at the Canadian Hockey League or the pro ranks? With a resume like his, people around the hockey world would think he would expand his horizons.

Well, that’s a question only the man himself can answer, but don’t dare ask it, because it’s never been about Gardiner MacDougall, it’s all about the team and his players.

Tons of questions hovered over the Saint John Sea Dogs entering Game 1 and a lot of those questions were answered.

At 2-1 could the Sea Dogs protect their lead? They answered that by making it 4-1 and locking things down until a couple breakdowns caused a hush over a solid crowd at TD Station.

Could the Sea Dogs protect their lead late into the 3rd period? The answer was yes and they did it by committee and that’s exactly what the “Gardiner Effect” is all about. Never to panic under pressure, to remain calm and compete to very end. The Saint John Sea Dogs played with a lot of trust last night, which if you have followed the team in the last few years, you know there were times where the individual became larger than the collective unit. That didn’t happen last night. Now there were still some areas where that surfaced with some players not moving the puck quick enough, but they trusted the entire process and stuck with it. Let’s make one thing very clear, it’s never been about credit or who deserves it under Gardiner MacDougall, it’s all about the team and you better believe he will keep his team grounded, hungry and focused the rest of the way.

The Saint John Sea Dogs turned a lot of heads last night, their road to opportunity and redemption continues.

Keep it locked to the FDS Podcast Network for the latest news on the 2022 Memorial Cup

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