Winnipeg Jets’ first iteration top scorer and Hockey Hall of Fame member Dale Hawerchuk died at the age of 57 after suffering from stomach cancer, his son Eric said on Tuesday on Twitter.
“He will miss the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, our players, alumni and fans dearly, and we will forever be inspired by his passion for the sport, his commitment to his team and his love for our community. ”
[ENRELATION:[RELATED:[ENRELATION:[RELATED:Statement by Commissioner Gary Bettman on the death of Dale Hawerchuk]
Hawerchuk was honored with a moment of silence before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Round 1 between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the eastern central city, Tuesday.
A forward who was a six-time 100-point scorer for the Jets and helped build them a consistent Stanley Cup playoff team through the 1980s, Hawerchuk held the franchise’s career records for goals (379 ) and points (929) until Shane Doan, captain of the Arizona Coyotes and the last remaining original Jets member in the NHL, surpassed them in the 2015-16 season. At that point, the relocated franchise was finishing its 20th season in Arizona after leaving Winnipeg in 1996.
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Dale Hawerchuk, an instant and lasting star who captured the hearts of two passionate hockey towns, represented his country with class and distinction and is one of the most decorated players in the world. history of our sport, ”NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
Hawerchuk was a star almost from the moment he started playing competitive hockey at the age of 4. He played junior hockey with Cornwall of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and had 103 and 183 points in his two seasons, helping the Royals win the Memorial Cup each time.
The Jets selected Hawerchuk with the first pick in the 1981 NHL Draft, and he was an instant star, being voted the winner of the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 45 goals and 103 points in 1981. -82 and become the first player to reach 100 points at 18. The Jets improved their NHL record by 48 points from the previous season, finished second in the Norris Division and advanced to the playoffs for the first time.
“It was tough,” Hawerchuk said in 2018. “Training camp, even at training camp, I remember saying it was so fast and so fast and I remember getting a lot of sleep because I was still exhausted and pushed me to play against men every night, and then you remember the times when it clicked and you felt really good, then you hit a wall again and struggled for a week or two, then again a second wind. I was only 18 so my body I wasn’t the tallest guy but I slept a lot that first year for sure but I wanted to sleep and be fresh and be ready and create that consistency on a schedule of 80 games at the time.
“I knew I needed to be rested because… we also flew commercial flights. The trip was much more difficult than now with the private jets. It was always about being prepared, rested and doing the job when you could and trying to get stronger and faster when you can. ”
Hawerchuk hit the 100-point mark six of his first seven seasons with Winnipeg. The only thing he couldn’t do was win the Jets playoff success; they have passed the first round twice in nine seasons in Winnipeg. Hawerchuk was more successful internationally, helping Canada win the Canada Cup in 1987 and 1991. He won the face-off that led to Mario Lemieux’s game-winning goal in the 1987 tournament.
Video: PHI @ MTL: Flyers, Canadians remember Dale Hawerchuk
The Jets traded Hawerchuk to the Buffalo Sabers on June 16, 1990. He averaged 94 points in his first four seasons with the Sabers before injuries limited him to 16 points in 23 games during the 1994 season. -1995 shortened by lockout. He signed with the St. Louis Blues on September 8, 1995, but was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 15, 1996.
Hawerchuk helped the Flyers advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997, the only time in his 16-season NHL career that his team made it past the second round of the playoffs. Shortly after Philadelphia was swept away by the Detroit Red Wings, he retired with a degenerative left hip. He finished with 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 games in the NHL.
“I was lucky, I played with him at the end,” said Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. “His last year was in Philadelphia when we played on the same row together. So playing against him was just a great player. I always, it’s funny, you play a game with a lot of teammates. You very rarely remember what they were like. It always comes down to what kind of people they were.
“He’s just a great person, I can’t even remember any of the games. You just remember what kind of guy he was and actually for me what stands out is that I was a center man, he was a center man. He was a centerman Hall of Fame. We’re on the same line and he’s like, “I’ll play the left wing. You play in the center. It sounds like a silly thing, but it’s a little thing that sets me apart and tells you what kind of guy he was. Just we obviously think of him. She was just a great person. ”
Hawerchuk was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001, and he was added to the Coyotes’ ring of honor in 2007.
“So sad, what an amazing human being,” tweeted Hockey Hall of Fame member Teemu Selanne. “I am thankful that ‘Ducky’ is my friend and I have been fortunate enough to [talk] with him yesterday and say goodbye. This world is not the same place without it. Eric, you can be so proud of your father. Thoughts of love and prayers for your whole family. ”
After his retirement, Hawerchuk bred showjumping horses before becoming the Barrie coach of the Ontario Hockey League. He stayed with Barrie until he took medical leave in September 2019.
“Hawerchuk was in the midst of an equally successful after-game career as the coach and COO of OHL Barrie hockey when he fell ill and was taken from us far too soon.” , said Bettman. “We extend our condolences to his wife, Crystal, their three children, Ben, Eric and Alexis, as well as to countless teammates and fans who have been fortunate enough to see him play and call him a friend. ”
NHL.com editor Mike G. Morreale and independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report
Photos courtesy: Hockey Hall of Fame