Written by Mary Kate Wirfel
It’s never easy to lose someone, someone you love, someone you care about, someone that you are close to. As sports fans all alike this is how we feel when we lose a player not by trade or retirement but when they get older and pass away. Growing up a Buffalo hockey fan several people grow attached to the players they make someone that they have never even met a part of their family. It wasn’t easy this week for hockey fans with the playoffs up and running the NHL lost one of their greats and that was Dale Hawerchuck.
Dale Hawerchuck was drafted first overall to the Winnipeg Jets in the 1981 NHL entry draft He was only 18 years old. Hawerchuck went on to play nine seasons for the Jets. As a rookie he scored 45 goals and 103 points to become the youngest player in league history to hit the 100 point mark. In 1990 he was traded to Buffalo. While with the Buffalo Sabres Hawerchuck averaged one point per game the Buffalo Sabres made the playoffs with all five seasons that Hawerchuck played for the team.
The Buffalo Sabres acquired Hawerchuck in a blockbuster trade that sent Jeff Parker, Scott Arniel and Phil Housley to the Jets the teams also swapped first round picks during the 1990 NHL draft. Hawerchucks play brought fire power to the Sabres. Nicknamed Ducky he led the Sabres in regular season points including assist, goals and games played. His point’s rank 3rd in Buffalo Sabres franchise history. In total he scored 929 points in 713 games he played for the Sabres. He was also the team’s caption for the fore and a half seasons he played for Buffalo.
During the 1992-1993 season Hawerchuck finished 3rd with the teams scoring with a total of 96 points behind Alexander Mogilny and Pat LaFontaine. Hawerchuck also became the 31st player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points from 1990 to 1995 Hawerchuck became the 23rd player to score 500 goals he also scored the 7,000th goal in Buffalo Sabres history. Hawerchuck went on to play for the St. Louis Blues and the Philadelphia Flyers. He retired from professional hockey in 1997 after reaching the Stanley cup finals with the team but failed to win the cup.
In 2001 Dale Hawerchuck was inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame and in 2011 was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres hall of fame. In 2010 he was named the head coach of the Barrie Colts of the OHL. In the summer of 2019 Hawerchuck was diagnosed with Stomach cancer and in April of 2020 he finished all his treatments sadly in July 2020 his cancer relapsed and on August 18th 2020 he lost his battle at only 57 years old
Hawerchuck was a great player and will be missed in Buffalo as well the entire Hockey community.
Rest in peace Ducky you will be missed.