Goalie George "Bud" Gardner grew up in Quebec and remained in his home province until joining the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA Junior A loop as an overage player in 1962-63. The move proved well worthwhile as he helped the Flyers to the OHA championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup, eventually won by the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Gardner turned pro in 1963-64 playing as the number-one goalie for the Minneapolis Bruins of the CPHL. He played his first game in the NHL in 1965-66 with the Detroit Red Wings earning a victory. The following year he was between the pipes for eleven Red Wings' games and 12 in 1967-68. But with Roger Crozier and Roy Edwards ahead of him on the depth chart, there really was not many opportunities for Gardner to be called upon.
After toiling in the minors for a couple of years, Gardner was back in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks in their inaugural season in 1970-71, backstopping 18 games. His busiest NHL season was his last in the league, 1971-72, when he was in goal for 24 Vancouver games. The rival WHA began in 1972-73 and Gardner jumped to the rival league, signing with the Los Angeles Sharks where he was the team's starting netminder playing in 49 games. Early the next year he was traded to the Vancouver Blazers where he played another 28 games retiring at the end of the 1973-74 season.