'He was truly a superstar': Tributes pour in for Dale Hawerchuk
Dale Hawerchuk's banner is hanging in True North Square, where fans have gathered to pay tribute to the Winnipeg Jets legend. (CTV News Photo Daniel Timmerman)
WINNIPEG -- Tributes have poured in across Manitoba for Winnipeg Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk.
Hawerchuk, 57, passed away on Tuesday following a battle with stomach cancer.
"He was truly a superstar as a hockey player," said Mark Chipman, chairman of True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Winnipeg Jets, during a media availability on Tuesday.
Several political leaders in Manitoba have offered condolences.
“Our thoughts and prayers to the Hawerchuk family during this difficult time,” wrote Premier Brian Pallister on Twitter. “All Jets fans mourn the loss of one of the NHLs all-time greatest players.”
“Winnipeg is mourning today. Our thoughts are with the Hawerchuk family as a true Winnipeg Jets icon has been lost," Mayor Brian Bowman posted. "Dale was a leader on and off the ice and we’ll always treasure the nine seasons we were fortunate enough to witness firsthand."
Former Jet Teemu Selanne also offered his condolences, calling Hawerchuk "an incredible human being."
Hawerchuk was selected first overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, and won the Calder Memorial Trophy in his rookie season.
In each of his nine seasons as a Jet, Hawerchuk led the team in scoring.
He would later play for the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers before retiring in 1997.
He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, and most recently, coached the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League,
Despite spending time with different teams, Hawerchuk had strong ties to Manitoba.
"He made this his home, and became one of us," Chipman said.
Chipman added, "As great of a player he was, he was a finer human being."
Chipman said the team will be displaying Hawerchuk`s banner in True North Square starting at 7 p.m.