With last week’s news of the passing of former Winnipeg Jets captain Dale Hawerchuk following a lengthy battle with stomach cancer, an online petition has been launched in his name. This ‘Change.org’ petition was started on Thursday by the staff of Winnipeg’s 99.9 BOB FM, and is directly towards Mayor Brian Bowman.
The petition is asking Winnipeg’s Mayor to consider honouring the legend of Dale Hawerchuk with an honourary street name somewhere within the city – much like that of the honourary Milt Stegall Drive in St. James, to which former Mayor Sam Katz brought a motion forward in 2007 to have the old Arena Road changed to a name honouring one of the CFL’s brightest stars.
In his media availability last week, Jets President and Chairman Mark Chipman made the announcement that Hawerchuk’s No. 10 banner would be removed from the rafters of Bell MTS Place and placed downtown in True North Square for a public viewing. The idea went over quite well, with many Winnipeggers passing by to pay their respects to the longtime Jets forward.
“He was truly a superstar as a hockey player,” Chipman said via Zoom. “But I think why he was so loved here was not just that, but largely the fact that he made this his home and became one of us. I think everybody shared that sense of pride in Dale’s career as a player. Those who got to know him would all say that as great of a player as he was, he was a better human being. He knew how regarded he was and I think he really cherished that and never took it for granted. Right to the end, he was always doing what he always did to make people feel good.”
On top of the banner, Chipman – alongside Assistant GM Craig Heisinger – had been in conversation with Hawerchuk prior to his death about erecting a Dale Hawerchuk statue in Winnipeg, honouring the legacy he left behind. Although unable to see the project through, Hawerchuk was delighted to be informed of the plan, according to Chipman. Following this comment from Chipman, the idea of the online petition was born.
“Let’s thank Dale Hawerchuk and his family for their contributions to our city and sport and have a street named in his honour!” a Facebook post from the 99.9 BOB FM page reads. Likes, shares, comments and ‘official’ signatures have begun to pile up, with many comments indicating the support for one of Winnipeg’s finest professional athletes:
“Hawerchuk was the best Winnipeg Jet! He was humble, competitive, intelligent, polite… the list goes on and on. He was amazing both on and off the ice.” – Ali Zerbin
“He deserves even more than just a street name, but it is a great start.” – Tim Chlopecki
“Dale was such a great ambassador for the Jets, Winnipeg and Manitoba in general. He was a big part in getting the Heritage Classic together and bringing it all back to Winnipeg. Thank you for all the memories.” – Deborah Troyan
“I believe Dale deserves to have a street named after him, as he given so much to this city and not that we won’t always hold him in our hearts, but it’s just a beautiful way to honour him for all his contributions to our city. Would love to see this happen for Winnipeg fans and Dale’s family!” – Lisa Shier
“Dale ‘Ducky’ Hawerchuk was a great captain and huge supporter of our city. When he became a Jet he made Winnipeg his home. He was a class act always and is a good example for all hockey players to follow!” – Monica Mikkelson
“In all the interviews I’ve seen with him, he’s always talked about how much he loves Winnipeg and enjoyed being here and being a Jet. I think it would be a great tribute to both him and his family to name a street for him!” – Tara Reske
“When Dale played you watched, and when he spoke you listened. If you knew him you loved him, and if you didn’t you wished you had, but you would know exactly what he was like just by listening to him. The people of Winnipeg deserve to have a statute and a street named after him.” – Barb Katz
Back in late May, Hawerchuk’s hometown of Oshawa, ON. announced that a future park to be located at the former site of Donevan Collegiate Institute is set to be built under the name of ‘Dale Hawerchuk Park’. The park was unanimously approved by the Oshawa city council, and is slated to be erected for the spring of 2022 off of Harmony Road South in the new ‘Symphony Towns’ development.
The 57-year-old spent many years of his childhood living in Oshawa, attending the former Donevan High School, while also playing in the Oshawa Minor Hockey Association for the city’s Legionaires and Kinsmen.
A proud member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, ‘Ducky’ put up 518 goals, 1,409 points and 740 penalty minutes in 1,188 regular season contests, before adding another 30 goals, 99 points and 67 penalty minutes in 97 postseason games. Nine of his seasons were spent playing for the original Winnipeg Jets in the 1980s. He served as team captain from 1984-90, before moving on to play for the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers. Hawerchuk also earned two Canada Cup championships (1987, 1991) before turning his attention to coaching, where he stood at the helm of the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts for nine seasons, coaching the likes of current Jets forward Mark Scheifele.