Mercyhurst tabs former Niagara goalie, coach, and Princeton assistant Gardner to men’s coaching staff

Mercyhurst has named Greg Gardner an assistant coach with the Lakers’ men’s team for the 2014-15 season.

Gardner replaces former assistant Peter Aubry, who took a position at Lake Superior State earlier this month.

“We are very excited to add Greg to our staff,” said Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin in a statement. “We would like to welcome him, his wife Lauren, and their family to Mercyhurst University and to our hockey family. He has proven himself as a great student-athlete, a great professional player, and a terrific coach and we are looking forward to everything he will contribute to our men’s hockey program.”

“I want to personally thank Rick Gotkin and [associate head coach] Robert Ferraris for this great opportunity to coach with the Mercyhurst hockey program,” added Gardner. “My family and I are looking forward to making Erie our new home. Mercyhurst has such a great reputation nationally and I am both excited and grateful to be part of the program. I’m looking forward to competing for an Atlantic Hockey championship and NCAA berth this year.”

Gardner spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Princeton, where he was responsible for coordinating and monitoring all aspects of the recruiting process and overall team and individual player development and physical conditioning.

Prior to joining Princeton’s coaching staff, Gardner spent five seasons (2006-11) as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Niagara.

Gardner was a standout goaltender for Niagara from 1996 to 2000, graduating Cum Laude from the school in 2000 with a degree in commerce (marketing concentration) and a minor in psychology. On the ice, he led the NCAA in goals against average during the 1999-2000 season (1.53), setting an NCAA record for shutouts in a season (12) in the process. That year, he was named the CHA player of the year and led the Purple Eagles to the CHA regular-season and tournament titles and an appearance in the NCAA tournament.

After graduating from Niagara, he became the first-ever player signed to an NHL contract by the then-expansion Columbus Blue Jackets. He was also the first player signed to an NHL contract from Niagara.

During his seven-year professional career, Gardner spent time in the American Hockey League, ECHL and in Germany.