WINNIPEG — Dale Hawerchuk’s legacy was further enriched on Friday when the Winnipeg Jets announced details of a statue of the Hockey Hall of Fame forward to be unveiled in True North Square next August.
Jets Executive Chairman and Governor Mark Chipman also announced that an application has been filed with the City of Winnipeg to designate as Dale Hawerchuk Way a two-block stretch of Graham Avenue that runs along the south side. from the Jets Arena, Canada Life Center.
“Dale, quite simply, is part of the fabric of this city and the Winnipeg Jets organization,” said Chipman. “Beyond that, he has contributed so much to the sport of hockey. We are very proud to present Dale with these well-deserved honors to showcase his extraordinary career and the remarkable person he was, and to ensure that his legacy lives on far beyond the fans who have followed. his career and who were lucky enough to see him play. “
Friday was the 40th birthday of Hawerchuk, who was selected by the Jets with the No.1 pick in the 1981 NHL Draft, arriving in a Brinks truck to sign his first professional contract at the iconic Portage intersection Avenue and Main Street in Winnipeg.
He scored 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 games played in 16 seasons with the Jets, Buffalo Sabers, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers, and 99 points (30 goals, 69 assists) in 97 Stanley Cup playoff games. He won the Calder Trophy, voted NHL’s top rookie, in 1981-82 after scoring 103 points (45 goals, 58 assists) in 80 games, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Hawerchuk, who had stomach cancer, died on August 18, 2020. He was 57 years old.
In addition to the statue and street application, the Jets also announced that the first Ducky Pond Hockey Classic presented by Canada Life will take place in January 2022 with the proceeds going to Hawerchuk Strong, the charitable foundation founded by Hawerchuk, and True North Youth. Foundation, the charitable arm of the Jets.
Hawerchuk’s oldest son Eric is helping lead Hawerchuk Strong’s fundraising efforts and said his father would have been delighted with the ideas announced on Friday.
“The city of Winnipeg meant so much to my dad, so seeing the city return that love to him is really special,” said Eric. “This is where I was born. My mother was born in Manitoba. Our whole family has a lot of connections there. And the good thing about the Jets is that they’re often seen as a small market team, but they do everyone else. to classify. “
During the press conference on the future statue site, Chipman said he shared the plan for the statue with Hawerchuk days before his death. But naming a street and pond hockey tournament in his honor could have embarrassed Hawerchuk due to his humility, Chipman said.
“It would have been very embarrassing for him and he would have tried to change the subject and talk about his teammates, his mother and father and his family and how lucky he was to play the game,” said Chipman. “That’s what he would have said. He would have been beetroot red and would have wielded all that attention. “
Scott Arniel played with Hawerchuk for two seasons with Cornwall of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before also being selected by the Jets in the 1981 draft (No. 22). Arniel brought Winnipeg the Juniors Hawerchuk nickname, Ducky, which was given to him after a player thought he was skating like a duck.
The two played with the Jets for five seasons and remained friends, and Arniel agreed with Chipman that Friday might have seemed a bit too much for Hawerchuk.
“Dale used to say to me, ‘We came here to help this hockey team become relevant in the NHL,’ and he did,” said Arniel, who is an assistant with the Washington Capitals. “He was such a big part of getting the Jets on the map and he was so proud of it, so this is just a perfect addition to the story. He had big ambitions to win, to win the Stanley Cup and [be] do great things, but at the end of the day he would be overwhelmed by it all. “
Arniel said he also discussed the plan for the statue with Hawerchuk after it was revealed to him last year.
“He was so upset and so grateful,” Arniel said. “It meant so much to him and we started talking about the statue. I said to him: “What do you think? Do you want to have one where you score a goal and have your arms up in the air, or maybe run one of your saucers over three sticks on someone’s strip so they can score a goal? ? “
“He said, ‘No, I thought I would do it back, but [Jets assistant general manager Craig Heisinger] once told me that there was no way they would find a video or photos of me checking out. In Dale’s style, it brought a lot of humor to the situation. I know it will be a big ceremony next year and it will be a special time for him and the Hawerchuk family. “