Dale Hawerchuk, Hockey Hall of Famer, Dies at Age 57

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Dale Hawerchuk, a forward with the Philadelphia Flyers, takes a rest during practice at the Coliseum in Voorhees, N.J., Tuesday, April 30, 1996. Hawerchuk, a hockey phenom who became the face of the Winnipeg Jets en route to the Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 57 after a battle with cancer. The Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts, a team Hawerchuk coached, confirmed the death on Twitter on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Nanine Hartzenbusch)
Nanine Hartzenbusch/Associated Press

Hall of Fame center Dale Hawerchuk died Tuesday of stomach cancer, the NHL announced.

He was 57.

"The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Dale Hawerchuk, an instant and enduring star who captured the hearts of two hockey-loving cities, represented his country with class and distinction, and is one of the most decorated players in our game’s history," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement

Hawerchuk, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1981 NHL draft, played for the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues during his 16-year NHL career, compiling 518 goals and 891 assists.

He was selected to the NHL All-Star Game five times and took home the 1981-82 Calder Trophy after helping the Jets reach the playoffs for the first time.

"Dale Hawerchuk put Winnipeg and the Jets on the map the day he arrived in our city in 1981, and his love for our community and remarkable Hall of Fame career will keep it here for many generations to come," the Jets said in a statement. "Dale had a relationship with our fans unlike any other player in the history of our franchise. ... Dale was quite simply one of the finest human beings we have ever known that also just happened to be a superstar.

"The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, our players, our alumni, and our fans will miss him dearly, and we will forever be inspired by his passion for the game, his commitment to his team, and his love for our community."

Hawerchuk was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He helped guide the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final, his only appearance past the second round of the playoffs in his career.

Fellow Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne honored his friend on Twitter:

Teemu Selanne @TeemuSel8nne

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

Hawerchuk is survived by his wife, Crystal, and their three children, Ben, Eric and Alexis.