Dale Hawerchuk, the leading scorer in the first iteration of the Winnipeg Jets and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, died at the age of 57 after he had stomach cancer, his son Eric announced on Twitter on Tuesday.
“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. Whether at home or on the world stage, ‘Ducky’ was embraced by so many, so often because of his humility and the grace by which he always carried himself. 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 honored with a moment of silence before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round between the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the hub city for the East, on Tuesday.
A forward who was a six-time 100-point scorer for the Jets and helped make them a consistent Stanley Cup Playoff team during the 1980s, Hawerchuk held the franchise career records for goals (379) and points (929) until Shane Doan, captain of the Arizona Coyotes and the last member of the original Jets still active in the NHL, surpassed them during the 2015-16 season. By then, the relocated franchise was concluding its 20th season in Arizona after moving from Winnipeg in 1996.
“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 was a star almost from the time he began playing competitive hockey at the age of 4. He played junior hockey with Cornwall of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and had 103 and 183 points in his two seasons, helping the Royals win the Memorial Cup each time.
The Jets selected Hawerchuk with the No. 1 pick in the 1981 NHL Draft, and he was an instant star, being voted the Calder Trophy winner as NHL rookie of the year after scoring 45 goals and 103 points in 1981-82 and becoming the first player to reach 100 points as an 18-year-old. The Jets improved by a then-NHL record 48 points from the previous season, finished second in the Norris Division and qualified for the playoffs for the first time.
“It was hard,” Hawerchuk said in 2018. “Training camp, even at training camp, I remember saying this was so fast and so quick and remember sleeping a lot because I was always exhausted and pushing yourself and playing against men every night, and then you remember times where it clicked and you felt really good and then you’d hit a wall again and struggle for a week or two, and then second wind again. I was only 18 so my body, I wasn’t the biggest guy, but I slept a lot that first year, that’s for sure, but I wanted to sleep and be fresh and be ready and to create that consistency over an 80-game schedule back then.
“I knew I needed to be rested because … we flied commercial then as well. the travel was a lot more difficult than it is now with private jets. It was always about being prepared, rested and putting the work in when you could and trying to get stronger and quicker when you could.”
Hawerchuk reached the 100-point mark in six of his first seven seasons with Winnipeg. The only thing he couldn’t do was bring the Jets playoff success; they got past the first round twice in his nine seasons in Winnipeg. Hawerchuk had more success internationally, helping Canada win the Canada Cup in 1987 and 1991. He won the face-off that led to Mario Lemieux’s winning goal in the 1987 tournament.
“He was such an important part of the fabric of not only the Jets but the city of Winnipeg,” Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said. “He was a first pick overall with a lot of pressure. He went into a great hockey market and he embraced it and they embraced him.
The Jets traded Hawerchuk to the Buffalo Sabres on June 16, 1990. He averaged 94 points in his first four seasons with the Sabres before injuries limited him to 16 points in 23 games during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. He signed with the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 8, 1995, but was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 15, 1996.
Hawerchuk helped the Flyers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 1997, the only time during his 16-season NHL career that his team got past the second round of the playoffs. Soon after Philadelphia was swept by the Detroit Red Wings, he retired because of a degenerative left hip. He finished with 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 NHL games.
“I got fortunate, I played with him at the end,” Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “His last year was in Philadelphia when we played together on the same line. So playing against him, he was just a great player. I always, it’s funny, you play a game with a lot of teammates. You very rarely remember how they played. It’s always about what kind of people they were.
“He’s just a great person, can’t even remember any of the games. You just remember what kind of guy he was and actually for me, what stands out was I was a centerman, he was a centerman. He was a Hall of Fame centerman. We got on the same line and he’s like, ‘I’ll play left wing. You play center.’ It sounds like a stupid thing, but that’s a little thing that just stands out to me and tells you what kind of guy he was. Just we’re obviously thinking of him. He was just a great person.”
Hawerchuk was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001, and he was added to the Coyotes’ ring of honor in 2007.
“So sad, what a incredible human being,” Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne tweeted. “I’m thankful that ‘Ducky’ was my friend and I had a chance to [talk] 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.”
Following his retirement, Hawerchuk raised show-jumping horses before becoming coach of Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League. He remained with Barrie until taking a leave of absence for health reasons in September 2019.
“Hawerchuk was in the midst of a similarly successful post-playing career as a coach and director of hockey operations of Barrie of the OHL when he became ill and was taken from us far too soon,” Bettman said. “We send our condolences to his wife, Crystal, their three children, Ben, Eric and Alexis, and countless teammates and fans who were fortunate enough to see him play and call him a friend.”
NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale and independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report
Photos Courtesy: Hockey Hall of Fame
Mickelson struggles Thursday at Winged Foot – pgatour.com
For a few brief moments Phil Mickelson’s dream of conquering Winged Foot to complete a career grand slam was on track at the U.S. Open, but inaccuracy off the tee once again gave him nightmares.
A week after hitting just 12 of 56 fairways at the Safeway Open, Mickelson managed to find the short grass off the tee just twice in Thursday’s opening round on the way to a dismal 9-over 79.
The 50-year-old’s chance at redemption from 2006 looked a chance after he rolled in back-to-back birdies out of the gate. Perhaps he truly had let go of the infamous 72nd hole double bogey that helped Geoff Ogilvy claim the trophy over 14 years ago.
Mickelson’s early birdies came despite missing both fairways left into deep rough and the fairytale writers lifted their eyebrows and dared to think something special might be on its way.
However, the inaccuracy quickly caught up. From the moment a four-foot par putt on the third hole lipped out, Mickelson found himself in a deep spiral not even his 44-time PGA TOUR winning experience could fight.
Bogeys on the fourth, fifth and eighth followed with Mickelson not chalking up his first fairway until the par-5 ninth hole. It didn’t help as he would go on to make par after another missed putt.
Bogey at 10 and another at 13 came soon after the turn with the latter the start of a six-hole finishing stretch that the six-time U.S. Open runner-up played in six over. Ultimately, he would finish 14 shots off the pace and all but officially be eliminated from contention. Only U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Lukas Michel (80) was behind him on the leaderboard.
The words he said as he left Napa must have been ringing in his ears throughout the round.
“The last couple of months I’ve been missing it more to the right and not worried about the left and the left crept in again,” Mickelson had said after the Safeway Open. “For years I missed it left. I haven’t been fearing that at all lately, but this week I missed it left, which is not good. I can deal with missing it right now, but not left.”
He went on to say he was confident of being able to turn it around before the opening round in New York but sadly that was not the case. Prior to the Safeway Open he had won his debut start at PGA TOUR Champions.
“I actually have had some nice breakthroughs in the last year and I feel like I’m on the precipice of playing really well, but I’ve got to get it to click,” he said.
Jays lose third in a row to Yankees – Bluebird Banter
Well, game three end up a lot closer than the first two games.
There were lots of Yankees home runs. Lots. Yankees seem to have that swing down to loft the ball to the short porch to left.
Julian Merryweather ‘opened’ and he managed not to give up a home run. But he wasn’t good, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned. I hoped he could go two innings but no such luck.
Chase Anderson followed and threw a very good second inning. Then he gave up 5 home runs in the third, while getting just 2 outs. He gave up three consecutive home runs on three pitches.
It did remind me of a joke from my youth. What goes whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack. A pitcher going down to the minors.
Wilmer Font finished out the third inning and got through the fourth without allowing a run. Our pitching MVP of the series.
T.J. Zeuch pitched 3 innings, giving up just 1 run on, you guessed it, another homer. He allowed 3 hits, 3 walks with 3 strikeouts.
We had a rally in the ninth, giving us a few moments of fun. . With one out:
Aroldis Chapman came in:
- Bo Bichette singled home 2. 10-7, bringing the tying run to the plate.
- Randal Grichuk struck out.
- Teoscar Hernandez struck out to end the game. Hernandez was 0 for 5 with 4 strikeouts in his first game back. It will take couple of games to get his timing back
Jay of the Day: Lourdes (.124 WPA).
Matt Shoemaker can’t come back quick enough.
Tomorrow is a double-header, in Philadelphia. first game is 4:00 Eastern.
We had 753 comments in the GameThread. 13yearoldbaseballfanatic led us to defeat.
The series had me thinking of this song, the chorus is ‘Burn this cabin down’. I’m thinking we should do that to Yankees Stadium, burn it to the ground.
Blue Jays lose big again – Bluebird Banter
We held them to a couple of touchdowns today. Progress of sorts.
Yankees hit 7 home runs. 4 off of starter Tanner Roark. The first, a solo homer in the first inning, was a Yankees Stadium special, one that would only be a home run with the short porch in the Bronx. But the other ones were crushed.
Roark went 4 innings, allowed 6 hits, 6 earned, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Jacob Waguespack pitched the next 2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 5 earned, 1 walk with 2 home runs.
Hector Perez got into his first MLB game. He pitched 1.2 innings with 3 hits, 2 earned, 3 walks, 1 k with 1 home run.
Anthony Bass got the last out.
Someone named Kyle Higashioka (the Yankees backup catcher) hit 3 home runs.
Offensively, we only had 5 hits. We didn’t get our first hit until the sixth inning, when Jonathan Villar led off with a double. He would score our first run on a wild pitch. Joe Panik homered in the ninth, to get our second run.
Can’t blame the defense today.
No Jays of the Day today. Danny Jansen had the high mark at .007 WPA for his 0 for 2 and a walk.
Suckage: Roark (-.246).
It’s possible that the Jays will send out Wags before tomorrow’s game, if they decide they need someone who can give them a few innings.
We had 643 comments in the GameThread. FlipDown Shades led us to crushing defeat.
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