Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk has gone public with his battle with stomach cancer.
The 56-year-old Hawerchuk’s health became a topic of discussion at a luncheon in Regina, Saskatchewan, in association with Saturday’s outdoor game between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. Hawerchuk’s cancer fight was chronicled by NHL.com earlier this week.
“The chemo has hit me pretty hard,” Hawerchuk told NHL.com. “I do it 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.
“For some reason the Lord put me in this kind of fight and I’m ready to fight it. I want to live to tell the story.”
Hawerchuk took a leave of absence from his coaching job with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League in early September. He has been Barrie’s coach since the 2010-11 season.
Hawerchuk had 518 goals and 891 assists (1,409 points) in 1,188 games over 16 seasons from 1981-97. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1981 NHL Draft by the Jets and spent his first nine seasons with the team, scoring 379 goals.
The five-time All-Star also played with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers.
Hawerchuk was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
“Dale Hawerchuk is royalty in the history of the Winnipeg Jets. He put that team on the map,” Jets executive chairman Mark Chipman said at Friday’s banquet. “And he’s continued to be an incredible alumnus for us in so many respects. We’re very, very proud to have him as part of our group. I’m praying for him and thinking about him every day.
“He seems to be doing OK. He’s really appreciative for everybody that’s been reaching out to him. He’s in a battle and he knows it.”
—Field Level Media