Winnipeg Jets roll out extensive plans to honour late Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk

Dale Hawerchuk loved Winnipeg as much as Winnipeg loved Dale Hawerchuk.

That’s the message from the Winnipeg Jets as they announced a number of tributes to the late Hockey Hall of Famer on Friday morning, including a statue at True North Square, a special Manitoba licence plate, an annual pond hockey tournament and an application to rename a section of a downtown street in his honour.

Hawerchuk, who played for the Jets from 1981-82 through 1989-90, died almost a year ago of stomach cancer at age 57.

The statue, to be unveiled in August of 2022, will be designed by sculptor Erik Blome of Figurative Art Studio, who has immortalized a number of hockey icons in his past work, including the Legends Row sculptures for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Wayne Gretzky statue in Los Angeles, and the Chicago Blackhawks’ 75th-anniversary monument.

“Dale, quite simply, is part of the fabric of this city and of the Winnipeg Jets organization,” said Jets executive chairman Mark Chipman.

“Beyond that, he has contributed so much to the sport of hockey. We are so proud to give Dale these much-deserved honours to showcase his extraordinary career and the remarkable person he was, and ensure his legacy lives well beyond the fans who followed his career and who were lucky enough to see him play.”

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Kicking off in January, the Ducky Pond Hockey Classic will take place on a newly created lake at Camp Manitou, just west of the city, with the winning team earning a spot in and trip to the national tournament in Plaster Rock, N.B.

In a statement, Hawerchuk’s son Eric said the tournament was a perfect tribute, as some of the family’s most cherished memories were of playing pond hockey on Lake Winnipeg.

“There is something truly special about being on skates outside in Canada,” he said.

“This is going to be such a fun week, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

“Dale has always been proud to be a part of the community in Winnipeg and felt very much at home in Manitoba. It meant so much to him during his battle with cancer to see all the love and support from his fans.”

At the announcement Friday, Chipman formally presented an application to the City of Winnipeg to have a stretch of Graham Avenue, near the Jets’ home of Canada Life Centre and True North Square, renamed to Dale Hawerchuk Way.

Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry), whose ward includes the street, said watching video of Hawerchuk’s Hall of Fame induction is a good indication of just how important the city was to him.

“You can see it so clearly when he’s entered in the Hockey Hall of Fame,” she said.

“He names every city and franchise he worked with, and when he gets to the city of Winnipeg, he pauses. In that pause is reverence for Winnipeg, is love for Winnipeg — and in that pause is great humility for a place he said he grew up in — our hometown.

“It’s in this pause where he holds this special love for our city, a city he so clearly held as precious, and so do we.”

In addition to the street renaming, the Jets announced something fans have been calling for over quite some time — the addition of the blue “heritage” jerseys as the team’s official third jersey.

 

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