One of Oshawa’s all time hockey greats has died after a hard-fought battle with stomach cancer.
Dale Hawerchuk was 57.
His son, Eric, broke the news on Tuesday.
— Eric Hawerchuk (@EricHawerchuk) August 18, 2020
Hawerchuk grew up in Oshawa, finding his passion for hockey while attending Donovan High School and Woodcrest Public School.
Before catching the watchful eye of scouts, Hawerchuk made his mark on the Oshawa Minor Hockey Association, Oshawa Legionaires and the Oshawa Kinsmen.
He was selected by the Cornwall Royals in the first round of the 1979 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft and went on to play two seasons with the club.
During that time, Hawerchuk was named Rookie of the Year, Playoff MVP, Most Sportsmanlike Player, a First Team All-Star, Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year and helped the team bring home a pair of Memorial Cups.
The Winnipeg Jets weren’t the only team to notice his skill and professionalism on the ice, but Hawerchuk was an easy choice for the Manitoba team in the first overall pick of the 1981 NHL entry draft.
Over 16 seasons of NHL hockey, Hawerchuk was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy in his first season as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year and participated in five all-star games.
He spent time with the Jets, Blues, Sabres and Flyers before retiring in 1997.
His number 10 jersey was retired by the Jets in 2007.
The Jets, Sabres and NHL all released statements on Twitter in response to Hawerchuk’s death.
The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, our players, our alumni, and our fans will miss Dale Hawerchuk dearly, and we will forever be inspired by his passion for the game, his commitment to his team, and his love for our community. #RememberingDucky #HawerchukStrong pic.twitter.com/Vgj78TsSco
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) August 18, 2020
The Sabres have released the following statement regarding the passing of Dale Hawerchuk. pic.twitter.com/2HXMmaj9Ob
— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) August 18, 2020
The NHL mourns the passing of Dale Hawerchuk, an instant and enduring star who captured the hearts of two hockey-loving cities over the course of his 16-season NHL career.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 18, 2020
Since hanging up his skates, Hawerchuk has been an active part of Oshawa and Ontario’s hockey communities, acting as head coach of the OHL’s Barrie Colts since 2010.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I extend condolences on behalf of the Ontario Hockey League to the family and friends of Dale Hawerchuk, one of the great contributors to our game both through his excellence on the ice as a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee as well as his leadership behind the bench as coach of the Barrie Colts,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “We as a League are thinking of Dale’s wife Crystal as well as children Eric, Ben and Alexis at this very difficult time. Dale was a tremendous hockey man and an upstanding person who will be greatly missed by all.”
Photo courtesy of Dale Hawerchuk on Facebook