Gardiner MacDougall is now in his 20th season at the helm of UNB’s hockey program, one of Canada's most successful university hockey programs.
The native of Bedeque, PE, is the fourth UNB head coach from that province, following in the footsteps of former and present NHL coaches Don MacAdam, Doug MacLean and Mike Kelly.
In 2018-19, MacDougall led the Reds to a 25-3-2 Atlantic University Sport regular season record, a perfect 5-0 AUS playoff record, the team's second consecutive AUS championship, and the 2019 University Cup, UNB's eighth national championship and the seventh under MacDougall's guidance (2019, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007).
MacDougall has won those seven national titles in a twelve year span. This includes a Canadian record breaking 2009-10 season of 27-1, including 26 consecutive victories to start the season – another U SPORTS record. He helped lead the 2007-08 squad to the most successful season in AUS history (31-1-1) as well as the most wins in a single season (43) in Canadian university hockey.
He is the all-time Atlantic Conference leader in total wins, including regular season and play-off victories. He is top five in all-time U SPORTS victories and 3rd all-time in Canadian university hockey history in national championship wins (36), trailing legends and former NHL coaches Tom Watt and Clare Drake. This further solidified his reputation as a proven winner and developer of players and teams. UNB has become the top developer of hockey talent for the professional ranks including four recent UNB players signing NHL contracts including three directly out of UNB, the only U SPORTS school to do this in the past 20+ years. 39 UNB players coached by MacDougall have played in the AHL/IHL.
In 2006, he became the all-time winningest coach in UNB history with 106 wins, passing one of his Island mentors Don MacAdam. Since that milestone, he has stretched the standard of success to include becoming the first AUS coach to reach the storied 400th victory in January, 2014. He has guided the UNB team to 11 consecutive AUS pennants, seven AUS titles, eleven national championship appearances and a remarkable 17 consecutive AUS “Final Four” appearances
In December, 2014, MacDougall, as head coach, led Team Canada AUS to victory at the World University Games in Trentino, Italy, upsetting Team Russia 2-1 in the semi-finals and going on to record his second World University Games gold medal. Previously, he was part of the AUS staff that defeated the Russians 3-1 in the gold medal game at Torino, Italy in 2007. Prior to coming to UNB, MacDougall had an outstanding career in junior hockey in Western Canada where he was named Coach of the Year on four separate occasions, capturing four Provincial /League Championships and becoming a well-organized communicator, passionate motivator and top notch recruiter.
MacDougall has been named U SPORTS Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2010 after being a finalist in 2004 and 2008. He is also a five-time AUS Coach of the Year and has been awarded Coach of the Year in his home province of PEI two separate occasions.
In April 2007, MacDougall was honored with the special UNB President’s Citation Award by then UNB University President John McLaughlin. In March 2009, President McLaughlin awarded him with the UNB President’s Medal - UNB’s most prestigious recognition. He was the first coach in UNB history to be awarded such honors. He was awarded the prestigious Paul Harris Rotary Fellowship medallion as recognition for his community service in the Fredericton hockey community and in 2012 received the distinguished Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary UNB Alumni distinction by the UNB Associated Alumni.
Aside from a successful on-ice coaching record, Coach MacDougall’s background as an educator has helped UNB student-athletes achieve strong academic standing. He has had 148 players achieved at least one term of a 3.0 grade point average while a remarkable 68 players have achieved Academic All-Canadian status (3.5+GPA). UNB’s Adrian Robertson was awarded the prestigious Top 8 Academic Award, the second UNB hockey player to earn this honour.
MacDougall is known for his positive enthusiasm and tremendous work ethic. He is a top notch recruiter who is very adept at getting the B.E.S.T. out of his players and developing a team first culture. A keen promoter of community development, UNB’s numerous hockey programs reach over 1000 young people each year. He is co-founder of the elite V-Reds Prospects program, widely recognized as the top youth development program in Eastern Canada. Over 51 VRP have been drafted to the NHL with 16 playing in the NHL and 52 at the AHL level.
He is also an accomplished motivational speaker and presenter, making multiple appearances at the famous Roger Neilson Coaching Symposium, numerous Hockey Canada and NBHA regional events along with guest appearances with assorted businesses, CHL teams and school divisions. He was a guest of the Russian Hockey Federation in 2013, a 2014 guest instructor for NHL players pre-training camp in Vail, CO. and has made five European hockey visits.
MacDougall is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University(BSc. P-ED) and Saint Mary’s(B-ED), and resides in New Maryland with wife Lee (former P-Ed mentor - District 18 and Phys-Ed teacher at NMES). The couple has two children, Taylor - a 5-year QMJHL grad and 5-year UNB student-athlete - and Madison - a UNB grad.