About six months ago, we at NHLTradeTalk.com posted an article on our site that outlined the Winnipeg Jets’ Dale Hawerchuk’s battle with stomach cancer. We’d like to offer you an update on how he’s doing.
Yesterday, NHL.com announced that Hawerchuk completed his final round of chemotherapy on Monday and was able to leave the hospital in Barrie, Ontario. The 57-year-old Hall of Famer had taken a leave of absence from his job of coach of the Barrie Colts (he’s coached the team for almost 10 seasons) on September 3 for medical reasons. Later Hawerchuk, who turned 57 on April 4, released the news was that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in June 2019.
The Good News About Hawerchuk
In January, Hawerchuk had a gastrectomy. And, now there’s good news. Dale’s son Eric tweeted, “Today my dad finished his final round of chemo Protocol in Barrie. Got to ring the ‘Bell of Hope’ on his way out. ‘We hope’ this is the end of a long journey but he’s ready for anything. Thanks to everyone who has reached out. Means the world to us. Thinking of you all #DaleStrong”
At the time of his hospitalization, Hawerchuk had been realistic about his cancer and called his battle with the disease “the fight of my life.”
More recently, he admitted that the chemo “really strips you down. You feel like, man, you don’t know if you’re going to make it, the chemo hits you so hard. But I’m still young and they’re telling me everything else is good, all my organs are good, so I should be able to fight this.”
He added this after his operation, “I do it (chemo) one week and it breaks the body down and then the next week I take a break and build my body up so I can do it again. I have to do that for two months. I really struggle to eat and have a feeding tube, but the last few days I’ve been able to eat a little bit, too. You’ve got to keep your nutrition up.”
Hawer’ A Tower of Power
It’s hard for Jets fans to think of Hawerchuk as anything but a monster on the ice. His strong play carried the Jets for many seasons. After being selected No. 1 by the Jets in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, over his NHL career Hawerchuk had 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 games for the Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers in his 16 seasons (from 1981-1997). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
After Hawerchuk was drafted 1st overall in 1981, he signed a five-year, $800,000 contract with the Jets. Interestingly, that was so much money in that day that an armored car escorted by police drove to the historic middle of Winnipeg – the intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street (Winnipeg’s main intersection) – and dropped off the 18-year-old.
From there, he became perhaps Winnipeg’s most recognizable sports person. It’s hard not to think of the Winnipeg Jets without first thinking Dale Hawerchuk.
Although it’s tough sledding, Hawerchuk’s wife Crystal thinks her husband has the mental toughness he needs to successfully fight the disease. Last January, she noted about her husband, “He’s just so himself and low maintenance and doesn’t have a big ego. Dale has always been a very focused person, very determined. He’s got mental strength today just like he had in hockey.”
We wish the Hawerchuk and his family success in this battle.
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