Hawerchuk, Hall of Famer, leading scorer of original Jets dies at 57


Dale Hawerchuk, the leading scorer in the first iteration of the Winnipeg Jets and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, has died, his son Eric announced over Twitter on Tuesday.

Tweet from @EricHawerchuk: After an incredibly brave and difficult battle with cancer, our dad has passed away. My family is so proud of him and the way he fought. #HawerchukStrong pic.twitter.com/xZ1xcaqAOv

Dale Hawerchuk was 57 and had stomach cancer. The forward was a six-time 100-point scorer for the Jets and helped make them a consistent Stanley Cup Playoff team during the 1980s. He held the franchise career records for goals (379) and points (929) until Shane Doan, captain of the Arizona Coyotes and the last member of the original Jets still active in the NHL, surpassed them during the 2015-16 season. By then, the relocated franchise was concluding its 20th season in Arizona after moving from Winnipeg in 1996.

Hawerchuk was a star almost from the time he began playing competitive hockey at age 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 took Hawerchuk with the No. 1 pick in the 1981 NHL Draft and he was an instant star, winning the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL after scoring 45 goals and 103 points in 1981-82 and becoming the first player to reach 100 points as an 18-year-old. The Jets improved by a then-NHL record 48 points from the previous season, finished second in the Norris Division and qualified for the playoffs for the first time.

Hawerchuk reached the 100-point mark in six of his first seven seasons with Winnipeg. The only thing he couldn’t do was bring playoff success; the Jets got past the first round twice in his nine seasons in Winnipeg. Hawerchuk had more success internationally, helping Canada win the Canada Cup in 1987 and 1991. He won the face-off that led to Mario Lemieux’s winning goal in the 1987 tournament. 

Video: PHI@MTL: Flyers, Canadiens remember Dale Hawerchuk

The Jets traded Hawerchuk to the Buffalo Sabres on June 16, 1990. He averaged 94 points in his first four seasons with the Sabres before injuries limited him to 16 points in 23 games during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. He signed with the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 8, 1995 but was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 15, 1996.

Hawerchuk helped the Flyers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 1997, the only time during his 16-year NHL career that his team got past the second round of the playoffs. He retired soon after Philadelphia was swept by the Detroit Red Wings because of a degenerative left hip. He finished with 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 NHL games.

Hawerchuk was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001, and his No. 10 was honored by the Coyotes on April 5, 2007.

Following his retirement, Hawerchuk raised show jumping horses before becoming coach of Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League. He remained with Barrie until taking a leave of absence for health reasons in September 2019.

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