dale hawerchuk feature

Dale Hawerchuk: 1963-2020

The hockey legend wore the Maple Leaf six times during his decorated career, and played a supporting role in one of Canadian hockey’s defining moments

Jason La Rose
August 19, 2020

Without Dale Hawerchuk, there is no Gretzky-to-Lemieux.

Hawerchuk, who lost his courageous battle with stomach cancer on Tuesday at the age of 57, took the all-important face-off deep in the Canadian zone with less than two minutes to go in a 5-5 tie in Game 3 of the 1987 Canada Cup final.

Flanked by 99 and 66, he tied up Soviet centre Vyacheslav Bykov just long enough for Lemieux to grab possession of the puck and poke it ahead to Gretzky. The rest is Canadian hockey history.

That was the fourth of Hawerchuk’s six appearances in a Team Canada jersey. He finished his international career with 42 points (20-22—42) in 50 games, a silver and two bronze medals at the IIHF World Championship and a pair of Canada Cup titles.

The Toronto native first represented his country at the 1981 IIHF World Junior Championship; in the midst of a season that saw him post a ridiculous 183 points with the Cornwall Royals (QMJHL) and win a second consecutive Memorial Cup, Hawerchuk had five goals and nine points in five games, although the Canadians finished seventh.

He wasn’t around for a return trip to the World Juniors in the first year of the Program of Excellence – he was too busy putting up a 103-point season and winning the Calder Trophy as an 18-year-old with the Winnipeg Jets – but he joined names like Gretzky, Sittler, Gartner, Ciccarelli and Gainey at the 1982 IIHF World Championship, scoring three goals to help Canada win bronze.

Hawerchuk returned to worlds in 1986 and earned another bronze medal, and took silver in his final appearance at the tournament in 1989, when he had 12 points in 10 games and shared captain duties with Steve Yzerman.

He sandwiched that 1989 silver medal in between his two Canada Cup triumphs, winning the best-on-best showcase in 1987 and 1991 with a combined six goals and 11 points in 17 games.

Hawerchuk moved behind the bench following his playing days, which led to one final Team Canada experience; he was an assistant coach under Mike Williamson at the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship, his lone international coaching assignment.

He was entering his 10th season as head coach of the Barrie Colts (OHL) when he stepped away from the team in September of last year to begin his cancer treatment.

Taken first overall by the Jets in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, the 2001 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee recorded 1,409 points (518-891—1409) in 1,188 NHL games with Winnipeg, Buffalo, St. Louis and Philadelphia, leaving him 20th in all-time NHL scoring.

Hawerchuk was also inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Hockey Canada sends its condolences to his wife Crystal, and children Ben, Eric and Alexis.

The hockey world has lost one of its greats, and the Hockey Canada family has lost a proud alumnus.


Year Event GP G A P Result
1981 IIHF World Junior Championship 5 5 4 9 7th Place
1982 IIHF World Championship 10 3 1 4 Bronze Medal
1986 IIHF World Championship 8 2 4 6 Bronze Medal
1987 Canada Cup 9 4 2 6 Champions
1989 IIHF World Championship 10 4 8 12 Silver Medal
1991 Canada Cup 8 2 3 5 Champions

TOTAL 50 20 22 42

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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