Dale Hawerchuk, 1963-2020

Dale Hawerchuk, arguably my favorite all-time hockey player after Wayne Gretzky, has lost his battle with cancer. He was only 57 years old.

Dale Hawerchuk, a 2001 Hockey Hall of Famer, has died after a battle with stomach cancer.

“Dale was not only a hall of fame player, great coach, mentor and icon in the sport of hockey, he was also a great friend and an amazing human being,” said Howie Campbell, president of OHL’s Barrie Colts where Hawerchuk coached from 2010-2019. “He was a big part of our community for over 10 years. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies go out to the Hawerchuk family.”

Hawerchuk entered the NHL in 1981 as an 18-year old, and was the first pick in the NHL draft. He dominated the league for years, and every time he stepped on the ice, you knew you were seeing someone extraordinary.

Hawerchuk, 57, was diagnosed in August, forcing him to take a leave of absence from the Colts. He told TSN in October he began suffering from acid reflux symptoms in the summer and a CT scan found a stomach tumor. He later underwent a gastrectomy in January to remove his stomach, as well as a tumor and cancerous cells.

Hawerchuk’s cancer returned in June.

Fuck cancer. Seriously. It has taken far too many good people.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 1981 NHL Draft, Hawerchuk played 1,188 games with the Jets, Sabres, Blues, and Flyers and recorded 518 goals and 1,409 points. He reached 100 points six times and scored at least 40 goals in seven seasons. The forward was a five-time All-Star and voted the 1982 Calder Trophy winner.

Thank you, Dale, for being an hero and an idol to a skinny, hockey kid from Philadelphia. I will miss you more than you can ever know. Rest in peace.