The greatest of the greats will be honoured Sunday, Dec. 11 at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge unfolding at the Ed Lumley Arena.
Prior to the 5 p.m. game – United States vs Canada – a large Dale Hawerchuk banner will be unveiled along with the official proclamation of re-branding the long-running Cornwall Minor Hockey Association bantam tournament the Dale Hawerchuk Memorial Hockey Tournament.
The sad part of this is that it has to be called the memorial tournament. The former NHL star died in 2020 after a battle with cancer. He was 57.
His parents and sister who live in the Oshawa area will attend the pre-game ceremony. Marc Crawford and Robert Savard will represent Hawerchuk’s Royals team-mates.
In 1995 Crawford became the youngest coach to win the NHL coach-of-the-year award and went on to win a Stanley Cup as coach of the Colorado Rockies. Savard is one of the few hockey players to win three Memorial Cups (two with the Royals and one with Kitchener Rangers). And, of course, he owns the most famous goal in Royals’ history, the 1980 Memorial Cup winning overtime (1:28) goal against the Peterborough Petes.
Hawerchuk was selected sixth overall by the Royals in the 1979 Ontario midget draft.
He finished his rookie season with 103 points (37-66) and had NHL scouts drooling over his sensational second-season performance that saw him win the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring title with 81 goals and 183 points. The Jets took him first overall.
In two short seasons with the Royals, he won just about every award available. The list includes QMJHL rookie of the year, Canadian Hockey League (CHL) player of the year, Memorial Cup (1981) most valuable player.
The OHL took note: An Ontario player filling arenas in the rival QMJHL. This led to the OHL forcing the Royals to join their league (with the threat of kicking them out of the Ontario draft). So desperate was the league, it waived the franchise fee of $350,000.
Ironically, if the Royals had not drafted Hawerchuk, the club probably would have played out its days in the “Q”.
Sunday’s tribute to Hawerchuk is a great opportunity for Cornwall and area fans to join in honouring the late great Royal.
Tickets are $16 a pop and can be purchased at the Aquatic Centre (Civic Complex), Benson Centre or online at www.hockeycanada.ca/WJAC
HAWERCHUK FACTS’FIGURES – Got his first pair of skates at age two. Started playing competitive hockey at age four. … Playing for Oshawa in the Quebec Peewee Tournament, he scored all his team’s goals in an 8-1 victory in the final, breaking a mark set by Guy Lafleur. … At 15, Oshawa Generals invited him to camp but returned him to the junior B Oshawa Legionnaires coached by Mike Keenan. … First overall pick in the 1979 midget draft was Rik Wilson of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. … He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. … He was the youngest NHL player to score 100 or more points (103). The mark was broken by Sydney Crosby in 2006. … To honour his memory, the Winnipeg Jets unveiled a statue of Hawerchuk outside their arena. … While playing for the Royals, he stayed with the Bissonnette family. Their son Marc and Hawerchuk remained good friends over the years. … Kevin Lajoie of the city’s tourism office and Lorne Taillon of the recreation department have done yeoman’s work putting together the tribute while playing key roles in coordinating the week-long challenge. … TSN will broadcast the gold and bronze medal games.
LOOKING BACK AT 1934 – Most people who end up in police custody do their best to avoid jail. Not so with a local man arrested by Police Chief Fred Seymour on Dec. 23, 1934 for a minor offence. Touched by the Christmas Spirit, the chief gave his prisoner the chance to leave despite the fact he had just finished a 14-day sentence for begging and taking the occasional swing at pedestrians who didn’t give him money. Instead, eyeing the prospect of a warm bed and three meals a day, the man asked for jail time to help get him through the winter. Shortly after the magistrate accommodated him with a two-month sentence. … The annual Christmas party for needy kids was held at the Capitol Theatre. The 1,000 youngsters included boys and girls from Nazareth Orphanage. The event was sponsored by the Kinsmen Club and James Whitham and Clarence Markell of Palace Amusement Co. … Cornwall and district recorded 42 accidental deaths in the first 11 months of the year. The report showed that 26 were the result of traffic accidents. There were eight drownings, three fire fatalities and two electrocutions. A two-year-old died after swallowing poison tablets. …. Of the 204 permits issued by the city building department, 44 were for new dwellings. … W. E. Kyer of Cornwall was given a department of highways contract to plow provincial roads between Morrisburg and the Quebec border. He supplied his own truck but the department outfitted it with a plow. … City council approved fencing for a new north-end park (King George Park). … Bonneville Bottling Works was the official distributor of Pepsi-Cola. … An unhappy judge lifted a $10 fine, or 10 days in jail, he handed a city businessman who was two-hours late for jury duty. However, the judge said the man would not receive his juror’s allowance for the day. … A Christmas dance was held at Ed Hubble’s Community Hall at 308 York St.
TRIVIA On Jan. 1, 1920 this Quebec-based company purchased a Cornwall manufacturing plant with 300 employees for $490,245 and installed the owner’s son as plant manager.
TRIVIA ANSWER Actor John Wayne’s birth name was Marion Robert Morrison.
QUOTED – “Look at Putin – what he’s doing with Russia – I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done – whether you like him or don’t like him – he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period.” – Donald Trump speaking to Larry King on CNN, October 2007