John Gardner is the 36-year veteran head coach of boys’ ice hockey at Avon Old Farms School. He began coaching there in the 1975-76 season and he has led his teams to eight New England prep titles and a prodigious cumulative coaching record of 650-204-36. In addition to coaching at Avon, John is the school’s chief academic officer.
John was a four-year starting infielder and a career .270 hitter for the Cardinals’ baseball team. After Wesleyan, he played baseball for 25 years and was elected into the Tri-State Baseball League of Connecticut’s hall of fame. His first love, however, was hockey, and he was the final goalkeeper for Wesleyan’s club team and the first varsity goalie, recording a 2.8 GAA in 1971-72. But first and foremost, coaching boys’ ice hockey is where he has left his mark.
John has coached numerous NHL and Olympic players and is well decorated for his prowess in mentoring young hockey talent. In 2010, he received the John Mariucci Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA), the top honor given to a secondary school ice hockey coach. He also received the Connecticut Alliance of Sportswriters Gold Key Award in 2010 for outstanding achievement in coaching.