Dale Hawerchuk, the Canadian forward who had both a dazzling NHL and international career, and became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, tragically passed away due to stomach cancer at the age of 57.
The first overall pick of the Winnipeg Jets in the 1981 NHL Draft, Hawerchuk became an instant star for the Jets, becoming the youngest player to reach 100 points and winning rookie of the year in 1982. Hawerchuk, who would spend nine seasons in Winnipeg (including his final six as captain), hit the 100 point mark six times, including a staggering 130 points in 1984-85, before being dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in a blockbuster trade in 1990. Hawerchuk would spend a difficult five seasons in Buffalo, with injuries plaguing his later years. Hawerchuk signed with St. Louis in 1995, before a trade deadline move to Philadelphia later that season, which saw Hawerchuk spend his last two seasons with the Flyers. Hawerchuk retired a point-per-game player, with 1409 career points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1188 career NHL games, along with 99 career playoff points in 97 games, and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his hometown of Toronto in his second year of eligibility.
Internationally, Hawerchuk first starred for Canada at the 1981 World Juniors, making his senior team debut the following year at the 1982 World Championships, capturing Bronze. Hawerchuk would play at two more Worlds, in 1986 and 1989, winning another Bronze at the former and Silver at the latter. But it was his Canada Cup experience that he is best remembered for, part of the championship squads at both the 1987 and 1991 tournaments, and in particular for being the setup man for the legendary “Gretzky to Lemieux” game winning goal that capped the 1987 tournament victory over the Soviet Union.
Our condolences go out to the Hawerchuk family, as well as the extended hockey community of beloved fans in both Winnipeg and Buffalo, on the loss of a legendary star for two NHL franchises, as well as a highly respected star across Canada and the world.