Dale Hawerchuk, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and the leading scorer of the original Winnipeg Jets, died on Tuesday at the age of 57 after a battle with stomach cancer, his son Eric announced on Twitter. Hawerchuk was diagnosed with stomach cancer in October and completed chemotherapy in April. Eric announced in late July that the cancer has returned.
"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."
Hawerchuck was honored before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round matchup between the Philadephia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens with a moment of silence. The game was being held at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, which is the hub city for the Eastern Conference.
Hawerchuck was drafted by the Jets No. 1 overall in 1981. He made an immediate impact during his rookie season, winning the Calder Trophy, which is given to the top rookie in the league. During the 1981-82 season, Hawerchk scored 45 goals and 103 points, to become the first player in NHL history to score 100 points at 18 years old.
"It was hard," Hawerchuk said in 2018 via NHL.com. "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."
Hawerchuk went on to score at least 100 points six of his first seasons with the Jets. He also spent time with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadephia Flyers. In 1997, Hawerchuk helped the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals, which was the only time during his career he was able to make it past the second round of the playoffs. The Flyers lost the Detroit Red Wings, and Hawerchuk then retired from hockey. In his 16-year career, Hawerchuk recorded 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 games.