Chuck Duboff remembers:
Dale Hawerchuk’s rookie season as a Winnipeg Jet:
Winnipeg Jets: 1981 – 1982 Games played: 80 Goals: 45 Assists 58 Points 103
Dale Hawerchuk was the first overall pick for the Winnipeg Jets in 1981; after not having been given much when we first got into the NHL, Dale was our reward for the futility of our first seasons. He was the first Winnipeg Jets star in the NHL!! I remember thinking, we’ve got our Gretzky…and oh did he not disappoint. Remember that Saturday night in Toronto when had a six point night. Those passes to Paul McLean who filled the night after Ducky got him the puck.
Dale Hawerchuk was the Rookie of the Year…winning the Calder Trophy. These are my two very young kids with Dale and the Calder Trophy:
March 6th, 1984 against the LA KIngs: Dale gets 5 assists in one period: (video below)
Mickey Steen remembers:
Gen Mgr. John Ferguson letting the NHL and world know that he wanted this young hockey phenom from Ontario, Dale Hawerchuk, as his 1st.overall pick in the 1981 hockey draft.
Ferguson and Hawerchuk signing his contract at Portage & Main, same corner where Ben Haskins signed another not so bad hockey player in Bobby Hull
Super hockey player who possessed great Leadership skills.
9 years as a Winnipeg Jet 713 games, 929 points as a Jet
Winning the faceoff for the winning goal in the Canada Cup 1987, with Lemieux & Gretzky as his wingers
Head Coach with Barrie and getting hold of the Jets organization and letting them know they should make an effort to sign a young Junior by the name of Mark Scheifele
Geoff Brookes remembers:
Memories of Dale Hawerchuk are intoxicating for long-time Jets fans. I heard an interview with Paul Maurice today, where he was asked about his memories of Hawerchuk. He said that he was just starting as a head coach when Hawerchuk was winding down his career. PoMo said that if Hawerchuk had played in a large city, his superstar play would have been more widely appreciated – this being the age where it was hard even to get decent videotape for scouting teams, let alone the wall-to-wall TV coverage that we have today.
So we have these memories that are legendary to Jets fans- memories from live games at the old arena, and the few games that were on TV. To this, we add our radio memories, with the tremulous excitement provided by Kurt Kielbach’s enthusiastic voice.
It was a time of fantasy for Jet fans – what if…
At the core of that dedicated hope was the incredible skill of Hawerchuk.
Linemates like Brian Mullen and Paul McLean put up scoring numbers that rivalled established stars in the NHL – playing with Hawerchuk. McLean had a nice scoring touch around the net, but he was quite an average player – without Hawerchuk. “Ducky” made journeyman players look like all stars.
Hawerchuk using his speed to gain the blue line, then pausing to hit the trailer in the slot for a perfect one-timer;
Hawerchuk rushing up the ice to create an odd-man rush;
Hawerchuk bearing the goalie with a brilliant deke, or a great wrist shot.
I was at the playoff game where Macoun crosschecked Hawerchuk in the ribs, taking him out of the playoffs. That was the year that we advanced past Calgary, only to be eliminated by Edmonton in 4 straight games, without Ducky in the lineup.
Those Jets teams were good, but without Hawerchuk they would have been lucky to win half their games. I don’t think there has ever been an NHL player that had a greater impact on his team’s success, or was more valuable to his team.
Through good years and bad, Ducky made the Jets exciting and (mostly) successful.
Perhaps the greatest tribute to his skill was that he played together on a line with Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, on that great Team Canada at the “Canada Cup”, in the fall of 1987.
Ducky, this day should have come so many years ago- thank you Dale Hawerchuk