Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Dale Hawerchuk, born on this date in 1963, scored 103 points for the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL in 1979-80 and followed up his stellar rookie season with another astonishing 45 points in 18 playoff games from 20 goals and 25 assists to lead the Royals in playoff scoring on their way to the 1980 Memorial Cup championship. He was subsequently named as the league's Rookie of the Year and Playoff MVP.
Still too young to be drafted, Hawerhcuk returned for a second season with the Royals, leading not only the team but the entire QMJHL with 81 goals and 102 assists for 183 points in just 72 games, an average of over 2.5 points per game. He tied with future NHL head coach Marc Crawford to lead the Royals in playoff points with 35 as the Royals became back-to-back Memorial Cup champions.
Hawerchuk was then named the Memorial Cup MVP as well as the QMJHL Player of the Year as well as the CHL Player of the Year, making him the prime pick in the upcoming draft.
That same season Hawerchuk made his international debut for Canada, playing in the 1981 World Junior Tournament, making a name for himself with 5 goals and 9 points in 5 games.
Thanks to their distant last place finish during their second season of play in the NHL following the demise of the WHA, the Winnipeg Jets were in prime position to select Hawerchuk with the first overall pick in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.
Hawerchuk did not disappoint, leading the Jets to an NHL record 48 point single season improvement in the standings thanks to a team leading 45 goals and 103 points, making him the youngest player to ever reach 100 points. Additionally, he played in that season's NHL All-Star Game and won the Calder Trophy as the league's Rookie of the Year.
Following the Jets early exit from the playoffs, he made his World Championships debut, scoring three times on his way to earning a bronze medal.
Another 40 goal season followed in 1982-83 before he reeled off five consecutive seasons of 100 points or more, highlighted by his stellar 1984-85 season of 53 goals and 77 assists for 130 points, all career highs, which saw him finish 3rd in the NHL scoring race. This was also the same season when Hawerchuk was named as the Jets team captain.
During that stretch of 100+ point seasons from 1983-84 to 1987-88, Hawerchuk also participated in the 1986 World Championships (6 points in 8 games, earning a second bronze medal), Rendez-vous '87, in which a team of NHL All-Stars took part in a two game series against the Soviet Union, and the prestigious 1987 Canada Cup, during which he scored 4 goals and 6 points in 9 games as Canada emerged victorious.
While his streak of 100 point seasons would end in 1988-89 with "just" 96 points, he would extend his streak of consecutive 40 goal seasons to five. With the Jets missing the playoffs, Hawerchuk would captain Team Canada at the 1989 World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, totaling 12 points in 10 games as the Canadians brought home a silver medal.
He would play one final season in Winnipeg before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres, along with a first round draft pick (which became Brad May) , in a blockbuster trade for Phil Housely, former Royals teammate Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and Buffalo's first round pick, which the Jets used to select Keith Tkachuk.
Hawerchuk's goal scoring in Buffalo not approach is totals in Winnipeg, but his playmaking skills would come to the fore, as he helped set up snipers such as Dave Andreychuk, Pierre Turgeon, Alexander Mogilny and Pat LaFontaine, which allowed him to lead the club in scoring in 1991, 1992 and 1994, with a high of 98 points in 1991-92.
Prior to his second season with Buffalo, Hawerchuk made his final international appearance, skating once again for Team Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup, contributing 5 points in 8 games as the Canadians again won the tournament for the second time in his career.
For the 1995-96 season, Hawerchuk signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues, where he played 66 games of the 1995-96 season, which included his 500th NHL goal before a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers for the final 16 games of the season. He would return to the Flyers for the final season of his career in 1996-97, although he was limited to 51 games of the regular season, Hawerchuk closed out his career with the longest playoff run of his career which concluded with his only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Hawerchuk's final NHL totals were 518 goals and 891 assists for 1,409 points, which still ranks as #18 all-time 15 years after his retirement.
Following his career, Hawerchuk was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, had his #10 retired by the relocated Jets, now known as the Phoenix Coyotes, in 2007 and named to the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 2011.
Today's featured jersey is a 1983-84 Winnipeg Jets Dale Hawerchuk jersey. This style Jets jersey was first worn in 1979-80 as the Jets marked a new era in franchise history as they gained entry into the NHL. This style would be worn through 1989-90 when the club changed to a new style, and would be the only style worn by Hawerchuk while a member of the Jets.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1989 Team Canada Dale Hawerchuk jersey as he captained Canada to a silver medal at the World Championships. This jersey was produced by Tackla and featured the company's diamond shape logo along the shoulders. Tackla supplied jerseys for the World Juniors, the World Championships and the Olympics from 1987 to 1993.
Today's video section begins with one of our favorite videos of all time, Les Dale Hawerchuks performing their utterly brilliant song "Dale Hawerchuk".
Next, an extended look at the playing career of Hawerchuk.