Michael Alfred Gartner (born October 29, 1959) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey right winger who played 19 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Phoenix Coyotes. He also played one season in the defunct World Hockey Association for the Cincinnati Stingers.
Gartner was drafted in the 1st round, 4th overall, by the Washington Capitals in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He started his professional career playing in the WHA as an underager with the Cincinnati Stingers in 1978–79. He played on a line with Mark Messier and had a successful campaign, finishing second toWayne Gretzky for Rookie-of-the-Year honors. As a result, with the WHA folding at the end of the season, he played the next season with the Capitals, and would play for them for the better part of ten seasons. He recorded an assist in his NHL debut on October 11, 1979, versus the Buffalo Sabres, and he wore number eleven for the Caps.
Gartner had a solid season in 1979–80, winning the Capitals’ Rookie of the Year and MVP awards, as well as being voted by their fans as the team’s Most Promising Player. He also led the team with 36 goals. Gartner was traded to the Minnesota North Stars on March 7, 1989, with Larry Murphy for Dino Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse. He left the Capitals as the team’s all-time leader in career goals, assists and points, and currently stands second in those three categories.
However, Gartner only lasted one season with Minnesota and was traded to the New York Rangers on March 6, 1990, for Ulf Dahlén, a draft pick and future considerations. He had a strong start with the Rangers scoring two goals in his debut versus the Philadelphia Flyers. He scored eleven goals and sixteen points in the remaining twelve regular season games the Rangers played that year. In 1991–92, he became the first player in NHL history to score his 500th goal, 500th assist, and 1000th point all in the same season. The next season, Gartner became the first Ranger to score at least 40 goals in three consecutive seasons. He also scored four goals in theNHL All-Star Game and earned the All-Star Game MVP award.
In 1993–94, Gartner was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Glenn Anderson, a minor leaguer and a draft pick. He played with the Leafs until 1996, when he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes, who had just re-located from Winnipeg. Gartner scored the first goal and hat trick in Phoenix history on October 7 against the Boston Bruins, in the franchise’s second game. He played two seasons with the Coyotes before retiring in August 1998.
Gartner was also active with the NHL Players Association. He served as president of the NHLPA from 1996 until his retirement in 1998 and served as Chairman of the Goals & Dreams program with the NHLPA. He resigned from the NHLPA on March 19, 2007.
Gartner and his former teammate, Wes Jarvis, are business partners and own three skating rinks in the Toronto area. He is very involved with youth hockey, coaching his 16 year old son, Dylan. He also coaches at National Training Rinks in Newmarket, Ontario.
Despite his long impressive career, Gartner never won the Stanley Cup or played in the Cup Finals, never won an NHL award, and was never named to the postseason All-Star Team, being one of the few Hockey Hall of Fame inductees to hold this distinction. Only Phil Housley has played in more games (1495) than Gartner without winning the Cup.
He was a member of the New York Rangers team that would go on to win the championship in 1994, but he was traded to Toronto at the trade deadline. However, Gartner got farther than he ever would in the playoffs that same year, as the Maple Leafs made it to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Vancouver Canucks in 5 games. He was traded close to the NHL trading deadline three times in his career, and had a knack for producing immediately for those teams, as in a combined 35 games with his new teams during the regular season after the mid-season deals, he had 24 goals, 18 assists, 42 points, and a +16 rating.
Gartner was noted for his consistency during his career, as he led his team in goals nine times during his career and scored 30 or more goals each year for the first 15 seasons of his NHL career, since tied by Jaromír Jágr tied this streak in 2007. Despite only once scoring 50 goals in a single season, Gartner became only the fifth player in NHL history to reach 700 goals (subsequently, Brett Hull also achieved the 700 goal milestone).
Gartner was also known for his blazing on-ice speed and ability to beat defenders down the ice.
The Washington Capitals retired Gartner’s #11 in a ceremony before their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 28, 2008.
Gartner coached the Minor Midget AAA, South Central Ontario Coyotes hockey team in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in which his son Dylan played on in the 2010-2011 season.
During the 1994 Super Skills competition, he set the modern record for the fastest skater event with a time of 13.38
Awards and achievements
- Jersey number #11 retired by Washington Capitals December 28, 2008.
- 2001 – Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
- NHL’s Player of the Week for the week ending February 22, 1987.
- NHL’s Player of the Month for February, 1987, becoming first Capital to win the award.
- NHL’s Player of the Week for the week ending November 26, 1989.
- NHL All-Star Game MVP (1993)
- NHL’s Fastest Skater at All-Star Game Skills Competition in (1991, 1993 and 1996)
- Played in the NHL All-Star Game (1981, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1996)
- One of the three final WHA players still active in professional hockey (Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky being the last two) at the time of his retirement.
- In 1998, he was ranked number 89 on The Hockey News’ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
- He scored the last goal ever at Chicago Stadium in the 1994 playoffs.
- He was ranked No. 67 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
- NHL record for most consecutive 30-goal seasons – 15 (also tied with Jaromir Jagr) 
- NHL record for most 30-goal seasons – 17
- NHL record for most goals in an All-Star Game (1993) – 4 (shared with Wayne Gretzky, Dany Heatley and others)
- NHL record for fastest two goals from the start of an All-Star Game (1993) – in 3:37
- NHL Skills Competition record fastest time (1996) – 13.386 seconds
- Washington Capitals record for longest point-streak – 17 games (twice)
- Washington Capitals record for longest goal-scoring-streak (1986–87) – 9 games (shares record)
- Washington Capitals record for most shorthanded goals in a season (1986–87) – 6 (shares record)
- Washington Capitals record most points by a right winger in one season (1984–85) – 102
|1975–76||St. Catharines Black Hawks||OMJHL||3||1||3||4||0||4||1||0||1||2|
|1976–77||Niagara Falls Flyers||OMJHL||62||33||42||75||125||—||—||—||—||—|
|1977–78||Niagara Falls Flyers||OHA||64||41||49||90||56||—||—||—||—||—|
|1988–89||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||13||7||7||14||2||5||0||0||0||6|
|1989–90||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||67||34||36||70||32||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989–90||New York Rangers||NHL||12||11||5||16||6||10||5||3||8||12|
|1990–91||New York Rangers||NHL||79||49||20||69||53||6||1||1||2||0|
|1991–92||New York Rangers||NHL||76||40||41||81||55||13||8||8||16||4|
|1992–93||New York Rangers||NHL||84||45||23||68||59||—||—||—||—||—|
|1993–94||New York Rangers||NHL||71||28||24||52||58||—||—||—||—||—|
|1993–94||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||10||6||6||12||4||18||5||6||11||14|
|1994–95||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||38||12||8||20||6||5||2||2||4||2|
|1995–96||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||82||35||19||54||52||6||4||1||5||4|
- Played for Team Canada in the 1978 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships and won a bronze medal.
- Played for Team Canada in the 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1993 World Championships and won a bronze medal in 1982 and 1983.
- Played for Team Canada in the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cups, winning first place in both tournaments.
|7 tournaments||Team Canada||Career||58||22||14||36||58|
Gartner and his wife Colleen have two sons, Joshua and Dylan, and a daughter Natalie. They reside in Richmond Hill, Ontario.