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Moose Jaw's Gardner plays first National Hockey League game

Former Generals standout called up by Dallas Stars on Friday, plays against St. Louis in NHL debut Saturday

Rhett Gardner has become the latest Moose Jaw Minor Hockey product to play in the National Hockey League.

The 23-year-old former Moose Jaw Generals and University of North Dakota standout was called up by the Dallas Stars on Friday and played his first NHL game on Saturday afternoon in St. Louis against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues.

Gardner was selected by Dallas in the fourth round, 116th overall in the 2016 Entry Draft. After a stellar career with UND came to an end this past March, Gardner signed a two-year deal with the Stars and immediately reported to the Texas Stars, Dallas’ American Hockey League affiliate.

There, he scored four goals and five points in 11 games before turning in a solid showing during Dallas Stars training camp this fall.

With a recent spate of injuries to the likes of Corey Perry, Blake Comeau and Martin Hanzal, the Stars decided to call up the 6-foot-3, 225-pound centre and put his stellar defensive skills to use.

Gardner saw 18 shifts for a total of 12:04 of ice time in the in the contest as the Blues went on to a 3-2 victory. Wearing #49, he would also record a hit and a takeaway while winning 33 per cent of his face-offs.

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