It is a sad day for the Hawerchuk family, the hockey community and for folks in Winnipeg as Jets 1.0 legend Dale Hawkerchuk has passed away at the age of 57 according to his son Eric who tweeted the news. Hawerchuk had battled cancer and after finishing his final round of chemo back in April his son unfortunately announced at the end of July that it was back and his dad had another fight on his hands.
— Eric Hawerchuk (@EricHawerchuk) August 18, 2020
Almost 40 years ago on August 13th, 1981 he signed his first NHL contract at Portage and Main as the 1st overall pick of the Winnipeg Jets. He would spend nine years in Winnipeg as an absolutely force on the ice and if not for the Oilers and Flames would likely have led the Jets to a Cup or two in the 80s. He would play another seven seasons in the NHL with Buffalo (5), St. Louis and Philadelphia.
After retiring he would go on to become a coach with the Barrie Colts of the OHL and did some lobbying for the Jets organization to take a chance on a young centre on his Colts squad named Mark Scheifele who became the first ever draft pick of the re-born Winnipeg Jets. He even spent time working with prospects at Jets development camp.
Suffice it to say if you grew up in Winnipeg in the 1980s Dale Hawerchuk was an absolute legend.
As you’d expect there has been a large outpouring from the hockey community with the news of Ducky’s passing:
Moment a silence for Dale Hawerchuk inside Scotiabank Arena. pic.twitter.com/BrYfoIQa1C
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 18, 2020
Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of Dale Hawerchuk. My idol growing up. Winnipeg sporting legend.
— Andrew Paterson (@hustlerama) August 18, 2020
The sport of hockey lost one of the greats today.
The Wheat Kings extend our condolences to Dale Hawerchuk’s family, friends and anyone else lucky enough to be a part of his life. pic.twitter.com/sV15A7zqiG
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) August 18, 2020
This is a bad day. One of the brightest hockey minds I encountered in 30 years covering the NHL. Smart, insightful and had a huge influence so many young players including the Canucks’ Tanner Pearson. He’ll be missed. Lord, how he’ll be missed. https://t.co/qbzr8idsa7
— Ed Willes (@willesonsports) August 18, 2020
To Eric and the entire Hawerchuk family, we are all so sorry for your loss. I will tell you what you already know —Dale is a treasured member of the hockey community and we will all miss him greatly. Take care and our thoughts are with you all. ? https://t.co/QKv6kiE3dc
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) August 18, 2020
It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of our head coach and friend, Dale Hawerchuk.
On behalf of the entire Barrie Colts organization and our fans, our condolences and thoughts are with the Hawerchuk family. pic.twitter.com/nmEiGaGxXj
— Barrie Colts (@OHLBarrieColts) August 18, 2020
I remember a conversation I had with Hawerchuk. He told me he has this kid that the scouts don’t necessarily like. He predicted big things for the young centreman. “You watch,” he told me. “He’ll be great.” The player’s name: Mark Scheifele.
— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) August 18, 2020
So sad? what a incredible human being ??I’m thankful that Ducky was my friend and I had a chance to talked with him yesterday and say goodbye?this world is not same place without him,Eric you can be so proud of your dad???Thoughts love and prayers for all your family??RIP DALE https://t.co/SKVHfxSFkB
— Teemu Selanne (@TeemuSel8nne) August 18, 2020
Damn. This really stings. I was a young reporter when I first walked into the Jets dressing room in the late 80s and Dale was always patient and kind in my dealings with him. Always answered the phone when I called him in Barrie to ask about the Colts guys on Jets 2.0 RIP https://t.co/uwaOSn00Cy
— Ed Tait (@EdTaitWFC) August 18, 2020
Brind’Amour on Dale Hawerchuk’s passing: “Fortunately I played with him at the end, we played on the same line. … He’s just a great person.” Said Hawerchuk moved the wing so Brind’Amour could play center on their line.
— Cory Lavalette (@corylav) August 18, 2020
If you grew up in Manitoba in the 80’s a piece of your childhood has died. Man, Hawerchuk made those days exciting times! We were lucky to call him one of our own. RIP Dale. https://t.co/VhNcUoaaE6
— Sean Reynolds (@snseanreynolds) August 18, 2020
Rest in paradise dale. My thoughts and prayers with the entire hawerchuk family, his legacy will never be forgotten ??
— Nazem Kadri (@43_Kadri) August 18, 2020
Sept 6, 1987 I watched my 1st live hockey game at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton (Canada Cup). Dale and Team Canada tied the Soviet Union 3-3. I was hooked on hockey after that!! Hockey world lost a good one today. #HawerchukStrong https://t.co/S4yWb9Hv90
— Kevin Bieksa (@kbieksa3) August 18, 2020
Still think my favourite Dale Hawerchuk memory is what he did in that Canada Cup game against the USSR in 1987 with the score tied 5-5. What a line: Ducky, Gretzky & Lemieux.
Number 10 was such a special player growing up in Winnipeg.
All the best to the Hawerchuk family.
— Dave Minuk (@ICdave) August 18, 2020
— Peter Taglianetti (@PeterTags) August 18, 2020
Sad day today. So many wonderful memories together that I will always cherish. Thinking of his Family with this great loss. R.I.P Ducky ? pic.twitter.com/bVzQUbS7pg
— Doug Gilmour (@DougGilmour93) August 18, 2020
Rick Bowness emotional seeing images of Dale Hawerchuk on the video board. Bowness coached Hawerchuk with the Winnipeg Jets in the 1980s. pic.twitter.com/kgqupGi33D
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) August 18, 2020
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 18, 2020
Dale Hawerchuk was everything we look for at Hockey Canada.
His love for the game and love to compete – as a player, coach and person – was unrivalled.
We will miss him. pic.twitter.com/XlYa9WAMAT
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) August 18, 2020
You can check out HawerchukStrong website with funds going to support initiatives close to Dale Hawerhuck’s heart.