For the No. 10 pick, the Winnipeg Jets called on No. 10’s wife.
Crystal Hawerchuk, the wife of the late Hall of Fame forward Dale Hawerchuk, announced Winnipeg’s selection of Cole Perfetti at the 2020 NHL Draft on Tuesday ahead of the team’s 10th season.
“Just a real special moment,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. “The raw emotion that everyone feels and the love that we feel for Dale and his family… he was a big part of the conversations and the development of a player like Mark Scheifele.
“The way the stars aligned, in our 10th year, when we had the opportunity to have the 10th pick, we had the idea that who better to make it than the greatest No. 10 in the Winnipeg Jets history. When we talked to her and the family, with the raw emotion, it just felt so special.”
Hawerchuk, who spent the first nine seasons of his career in Winnipeg, died of stomach cancer at 57 on Aug. 18. Crystal dedicated much of her time before announcing the pick thanking the people of Winnipeg for supporting Dale throughout his life.
“Our family would like to thank the Winnipeg Jets and all of Dale’s loyal fans and friends for their love and support through his very tough fight of stomach cancer,” she said. “He was a great hockey player and a very special man. I want you to know that he loved Winnipeg and always felt a very special connection to the people of Manitoba.”
Perfetti was honored to have his name called by a Hawerchuk.
“Obviously it’s been emotional, that story,” Perfetti said. “Obviously Dale was an amazing hockey player and a great person off the ice. He left a legacy and a lasting impression on everyone in Canada, and especially in Winnipeg. To be called by Crystal, it was a pretty cool moment, and to be the 10th pick when he wore No. 10, that was pretty cool.”
Crystal’s cameo came on the heels of Winnipeg’s announcement Tuesday that it would add Hawerchuk’s No. 10 to the 10th-anniversary jersey patch it would wear for the upcoming season. The Jets previously released a patch with their primary logo in the middle but added an image of the No. 10 that hangs in the rafters at Bell MTS Place to honor Hawerchuk.
“Dale meant so much to Winnipeggers and Manitobans,” Jets executive chairman Mark Chipman said. “We’re deeply saddened that he won’t be here to celebrate our 10th season with us, but the redesigned 10th anniversary logo is a great reminder that the impact he had on our city and province will live on.”
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this story.