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
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
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
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
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.
|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|
|1989||IIHF World Championship||10||4||8||12||Silver Medal|