Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Barrie Colts Head Coach Dale Hawerchuk, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 57 following a battle with cancer.
Hawerchuk, who was recently re-diagnosed with cancer after successfully completing chemotherapy treatments following a first battle in April, last coached for the Colts during the 2018-19 season.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I extend condolences on behalf of the Ontario Hockey League to the family and friends of Dale Hawerchuk, one of the great contributors to our game both through his excellence on the ice as a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee as well as his leadership behind the bench as coach of the Barrie Colts,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “We as a League are thinking of Dale’s wife Crystal as well as children Eric, Ben and Alexis at this very difficult time. Dale was a tremendous hockey man and an upstanding person who will be greatly missed by all.”
Born in Toronto, Ont., Hawerchuk rose through the ranks with the QMJHL’s Cornwall Royals, winning back-to-back Memorial Cup titles in 1980 and 1981. He then went on to a 16-year Hall of Fame NHL career spent between Winnipeg, Buffalo, St. Louis and Philadelphia, racking up 1409 points (518-891–1409) over 1188 career regular season games.
Hawerchuk stepped behind the bench in Barrie in 2010-11, spending nine seasons coaching the Colts to an overall record of 305-269-38, making the playoffs seven times while capturing four Central Division titles. He guided the club to an Eastern Conference championship in 2013.
Throughout his time in Barrie, Hawerchuk contributed to the development of notable graduates in Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers), Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets), Tanner Pearson (Vancouver Canucks), Kevin Labanc (San Jose Sharks) and Andrei Svechnikov (Carolina Hurricanes).
A former NHL Rookie of the Year Award recipient, Hawerchuk was the first player in NHL history to reach the 1,000 career game plateau before the age of 31 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. His number 10 jersey was retired by the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise on April 5, 2007.