Dale Hawerchuk (born April 4, 1963) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey centre who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 16 seasons. He won the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year in 1982 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility in 2001. He is currently the head coach of the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League.
Hawerchuk was a young prodigy who received his first pair of skates at age two and, according to his father, “was skating before he could walk.” Beginning competitive hockey at age four, Hawerchuk demonstrated superior skills almost immediately. At a Peewee tournament in Montreal, he scored all eight goals during an 8–1 victory in the finals, smashing the long-standing record set by the legendary Guy Lafleur. By age 15, the famed Oshawa Generals offered him a tryout, though he did not make the team. In 1979, Hawerchuk was selected 6th overall by the Cornwall Royals of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and became somewhat of a rarity; a Toronto-born player starring in the QMJHL. He recorded 103 points and was named Rookie of the Year. Hawerchuk was the playoff MVP and led the Royals to the Memorial Cupchampionship. In his second junior, he scored 81 goals and 183 points and led the Royals to their second consecutiveMemorial Cup title. He was named a QMJHL First Team All-Star, the Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year, andMemorial Cup MVP.
The Winnipeg Jets selected Hawerchuk first overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, ahead of fellow future Hall of Famers Ron Francis and Grant Fuhr. Hawerchuk immediately became Winnipeg’s star attraction, leading the Jets to what was at the time the largest single season turn-around in NHL history, a 48-point improvement. He became the youngest NHL player in history to reach 100 points (a record since broken by Sidney Crosby in 2006), finishing with 103, and winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. He also played in that season’s All-Star Game. Hawerchuk recorded 91 points in his second season, then hit the 100-plus point plateau for the next five consecutive years, including a career-high 53 goals and 130 points in 1984–85.
During the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Hawerchuk was involved in a blockbuster trade. Along with Winnipeg’s 1st round choice (Brad May) in the draft, he was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and Buffalo’s 1st round choice (Keith Tkachuk). Over the next four years he recorded no fewer than 86 points. His point totals fell off during an injury plagued and lockout shortened 1994–95 season. In 1995, he signed with the St. Louis Blues, recording 41 points in 66 games before a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers in March, 1996. He finished the season strongly, scoring 20 points in the season’s final 16 games and adding 12 points in the playoffs. The next season, he was plagued by injuries but managed 34 points and played in his fifth All-Star Game. Hawerchuk announced his retirement from the game following the 1996–97 season at age 34. His appearance with the Flyers in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals marked the only time any of his teams advanced past the second round of the playoffs.
He played for Team Canada in the 1987 Canada Cup tournament, and had a goal and two assists in the decisive third game of the Finals against the Soviets. Late in the third period, he won the face-off that led to Canada’s second-most famous goal and tied up with the Russian player who tried to check Mario Lemieux at centre ice, allowing Lemieux to take Gretzky’s pass in the slot for the series winner. He was named Canada’s MVP for that decisive game. Commentators remarked on his ability in the series to switch from being a goal scorer to a mucker and grinder. Hawerchuk was also key to Canada’s 1991 Canada Cup victory.
In a poll of NHL general managers during the mid-1980s asking them to select the player they would start a franchise with, Hawerchuk was voted third behind onlyWayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. He retired with 518 goals, 891 assists and 1,409 points, placing him 17th on the career NHL points list. He was inducted into theHockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
The Phoenix Coyotes (successor to the Jets) retired Hawerchuk’s No. 10 during the 2006–07 NHL season.
On June 4, 2010, the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League named Hawerchuk as their head coach, and director of hockey operations. The 2010–11 season was a rebuilding one for the Colts, as the team went 15–49–2–2, missing the playoffs for the first time in team history.
- There is a rock band in Quebec named in honour of Hawerchuk, called Les Dales Hawerchuk. They released an album in 2005 of the same name, with the image of Hawerchuk in a retro Winnipeg Jets jersey as the cover art.
- Hawerchuk became the president, director of hockey operations, and primary owner of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League‘s Orangeville Crushers in 2007. He left this position in 2010.
- On April 5, 2007 Hawerchuk was inducted into the Phoenix Coyotes Ring of Honor joining Bobby Hull and Thomas Steen. The Jets/Coyotes franchise retired his number 10 on April 5, 2007. Unlike Hull and Steen, who were honored in Jets colors, Hawerchuk’s number was retired in Coyotes apparel, despite the fact that Hawerchuk never played in Phoenix and all of his time with the team was in Winnipeg.
- Hawerchuk was known as “Ducky” to his teammates
- Parents are Orest Hawerchuk and Eleanor Mitchell. Dale has been quoted that he is “proud to say that I am of Ukrainian origin.”
- Hawerchuk was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame on November 8, 2011, the same day the modern Winnipeg Jets made their first appearance in Buffalo.
Awards and achievements
- RDS Cup (QMJHL Rookie of the Year) (1980)
- Guy Lafleur Trophy (QMJHL Playoff MVP) (1980)
- QMJHL Championships (1980 and 1981)
- Memorial Cup championships (1980 and 1981)
- Memorial Cup All-Star First Team (1980 and 1981)
- Jean Béliveau Trophy (QMJHL Scoring Champion) (1981)
- QMJHL First Team All-Star (1981)
- Michel Brière Memorial Trophy (QMJHL Player of the Year) (1981)
- Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (Memorial Cup MVP) (1981)
- CHL Player of the Year (1981)
- Played in NHL All-Star Game 5 times
- Calder Memorial Trophy winner (1982)
- World Championships bronze medal (1982 and 1986)
- World Championships silver medal (1989)
- NHL Second Team All-Star Centre (1985)
- Canada Cup Championships (1987 and 1991)
- Only NHL player to reach 1000 career NHL games before age 31
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001
- “Honoured Member” of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
- Inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 2011