Dale Hawerchuk, a 2001 Hockey Hall of Famer, has died after a battle with stomach cancer.
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Dale Hawerchuk, an instant and enduring star who captured the hearts of two hockey-loving cities, represented his country with class and distinction, and is one of the most decorated players in our game’s history,” read a statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“Dale was not only a hall of fame player, great coach, mentor and icon in the sport of hockey, he was also a great friend and an amazing human being,” said Howie Campbell, president of OHL’s Barrie Colts where Hawerchuk coached from 2010-2019. “He was a big part of our community for over 10 years. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies go out to the Hawerchuk family.”
Hawerchuk, 57, was diagnosed in August, forcing him to take a leave of absence from the Colts. He told TSN in October he began suffering from acid reflux symptoms in the summer and a CT scan found a stomach tumor. He later underwent a gastrectomy in January to remove his stomach, as well as a tumor and cancerous cells.
Hawerchuk’s cancer returned in June.
— Eric Hawerchuk (@EricHawerchuk) August 18, 2020
The first pick in the 1981 NHL Draft, Hawerchuk played 1,188 games with the Jets, Sabres, Blues, and Flyers. He recorded 518 goals and 1,409 points, hitting the 100-point mark six times and 40-goal mark seven times. The forward was a five-time All-Star and voted the 1982 Calder Trophy winner.
“Dale Hawerchuk put Winnipeg and the Jets on the map the day he arrived in our city in 1981, and his love for our community and remarkable Hall of Fame career will keep it there for many generations to come,” read a statement from the Winnipeg Jets. “Dale had a relationship with our fans unlike any player in the history of our franchise. Whether at home or on the world stage, ‘Ducky’ was embraced by so many, so often because of his humility and the grace by which he always carried himself. Dale was quite simply one of the finest human beings we have ever known that also just happened to be a superstar. The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, our players, our alumni, and our fans will miss him dearly, and we will forever be inspired by his passion for the game, his commitment to his team, and his love for our community.”
Hawerchuk was also a two-time Memorial Cup champion with the QMJHL’s Cornwall Royals and won two Canada Cups representing Canada. It was his face-off win in the 1987 tournament that led to Mario Lemieux’s famous goal against the Soviet Union.