The Winnipeg Jets' parent company announced a number of initiatives to honour Dale Hawerchuk on Friday, including erecting a statue of the late Hockey Hall of Famer and franchise icon.
Hawerchuk, who spent nine seasons with the original incarnation of the Jets from 1981 to 1990, died last summer at the age of 57 following a stomach cancer diagnosis.
True North Sports + Entertainment (TNSE) also announced an application to get a stretch of Graham Avenue near the Canada Life Centre renamed as Dale Hawerchuk Way. Should the application be approved, TNSE hopes that the two blocks of Graham between Donald Street and Carlton will be rechristened in time for the Jets' October home opener.
"It is an honour to accept the application to have a portion of Graham Avenue honourarily named for Hockey Hall of Famer and first overall draft pick, Dale Hawerchuk," said Winnipeg city councillor Sherri Rollins said in a release. "We are proud to have Dale's name so closely associated with our city and look forward to making efforts to have his name memorialized in the downtown area."
Erik Blome, the sculptor responsible for the Toronto Maple Leafs' Legends Row outside of the Scotiabank Arena and the Los Angeles Kings' Wayne Gretzky statue outside of the Staples Center, has been commissioned to design the statue of Hawerchuk that will be unveiled in True North Square next August. The team had previously announced its intentions to erect a statue of Hawerchuck and informed him of them before his passing.
A native of Barrie, Ont., Hawerchuk appeared in 1,188 NHL games over 16 seasons with the Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers.
Originally taken with the first overall pick of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Cornwall Royals, Hawerchuck amassed 518 goals and 891 assists over his career. Internationally, he represented Canada on a number of occasions, including at the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups, in which Canada was victorious in both.
Hawerchuck was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.