The hockey world is collectively mourning the death of former NHL star Dale Hawerchuk, who died after a battle with cancer, his family announced Tuesday.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, Hawerchuk was beloved across the hockey world, but especially in Winnipeg, where he spent nine of his 16 NHL seasons, putting up 929 points over 713 regular-season games in a Jets uniform. Hawerchuk was selected first overall by the Jets in the 1981 NHL Draft.
After five very productive campaigns with the Buffalo Sabres, where he was once again better than a point-per-game player, Hawerchuk wound down the final couple years of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues, before eventually becoming the head coach of the OHL’s Barrie Colts in 2010 and held that post for nearly a decade until his death.
Hawerchuk was recently re-diagnosed with cancer after successfully completing chemotherapy treatments in April following his first battle with stomach cancer.
Though he’s generally seen as one of the more under-appreciated superstars that’s ever played, it’s pretty been known just what a special talent on the ice Hawerchuk was. As thoughts and sentiments rolled in on social media throughout the day and evening on Tuesday, it’s become more clear the impact Hawerchuk has had on a deeper, personal level with so many who have crossed his path, too.
Media personalities, players, coaches and executives — all, it seems — have nothing but the finest words of praise, respect and friendship for the man affectionately known as Ducky.
Keeping Coach Hawerchuk's family in my thoughts and prayers. You're always in my heart ♥️ pic.twitter.com/CAHr6GkuQo— Andrei Svechnikov (@ASvechnikov_37) August 18, 2020
My thoughts are with the Hawerchuk’s. Dale is the greatest Jet to ever play in this city. I will forever cherish the advice he has given me over the years— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) 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
Sending my condolences to the Hawerchuk family, very sad news after a hard fought battle. #HawerchukStrong— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) 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
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
Incredibly sorry for your family’s loss, Eric, your dad was a great player and even better person. https://t.co/I4EYtZmkhV— Brian Burke (@Burkie2020) August 18, 2020
Sad news. Dale was an all time great. Should have been in the NHL Top 100. On ice with 99 and 66 for the GWG against the Soviets in Canada Cup 87. Went back to the grassroots to develop as a great Junior coach. Condolences to his family, friends and those he impacted in hockey. https://t.co/AZ3v7Fxcfy— Chris Cuthbert (@CCpxpSN) August 18, 2020
Very sorry to hear this Eric. Your dad was a great man and did a lot of good for many people. He’ll be missed.— Jason York (@jasonyork33) August 18, 2020
Dale Hawerchuk passed away today.— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) August 18, 2020
He was one of the great players of the game we all love, and became a dynamic coach.
His imprint will be on the game for generations. #HawerchukStrong
The man’s impact was so great that there are plans to build a statue honouring Hawerchuk in Winnipeg. As far as worthy “statue candidates” go, Hawerchuk has to be right at the top.
Mark Chipman and Craig Heisinger had the chance to tell Dale Hawerchuk recently that plans were already underway for a statue honouring him. Such a deserving recipient.— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) August 18, 2020
#NHLJets had a statue in the works for Hawerchuk already, Mark Chipman tells us. For now they'll fly his banner at True North Square, beginning this evening.— Paul Friesen (@friesensunmedia) August 18, 2020
Basically every NHL team, junior club, and major hockey entity and league also weighed in with sadness over his death and praise for Hawerchuk as a person, and everything he gave to the game.
A tough day and a monumental loss.
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