Hawerchuk hired to coach OHL Colts

Dale Hawerchuk will be one of 10 former NHL players to stand behind an Ontario Hockey League bench to start the 2010-11 season after being named head coach of the Barrie Colts on Friday.

Hockey Hall of Famer enjoyed stellar junior hockey career with QMJHL Royals

Dale Hawerchuk will be one of 10 former NHL players to stand behind an Ontario Hockey League bench to start the 2010-11 season.

The Hall of Fame forward on Friday was named head coach and director of hockey operations for the Barrie Colts.

"To have someone of his calibre taking over as head coach is very exciting for the team and for the community," Colts president Howie Campbell said in a statement.

"We had a very long list of candidates for the job, but Dale is the best fit for our organization and for our team. We're committed to putting a winning team on the ice in Barrie and Dale shares that passion."

Hawerchuk, 47, takes over from Marty Williamson, who resigned last week and assumed the roles of general manager and head coach with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL.

Williamson guided the Colts to the best-of-seven OHL final this past season, where the Windsor Spitfires swept them in four games.

"I'm thrilled to be part of this team," Hawerchuk, a Toronto native, said at Friday's news conference. "With my experience as a player at the pro level as well as my recent experience as owner and director of the Orangeville Crushers in the Ontario Junior A league, I think I bring some relevant experience to the Colts organization."

Long list of NHL talent

The other one-time NHLers currently behind an OHL bench include Robbie Ftorek (Erie, Pa.), Doug Gilmour (Kingston), Dale Hunter (London), Dave Cameron (Mississauga), Mark Reeds (Owen Sound), Mike Vellucci (Plymouth), Denny Lambert (Sault Ste. Marie), Mike Foligno (Sudbury) and Bob Boughner (Windsor).

Hawerchuk made headlines in junior hockey as a player prior to his illustrious 19-year career in the NHL.

As a rookie, he was named Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff MVP and led the Cornwall Royals to a Memorial Cup championship.

He followed up that season with an 81-goal, 183-point campaign en route to a second consecutive Canadian junior hockey title. Also that season, Hawerchuk was named a QMJHL First-Team all-star, Canadian major junior player of the year and Memorial Cup MVP.

He was drafted No. 1 overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 1981 and went on to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.

Hawerchuk also played with Buffalo, St. Louis and Philadelphia, announcing his retirement from the game following the 1996-97 season at age 34.

He left the game with 518 goals and 891 assists for 1,409 points, good for 17th on the career NHL list.

Hawerchuk also played for Team Canada at the 1987 Canada Cup and was named its MVP after scoring a goal and two assists in the decisive third game of the finals against the Soviet Union.