Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dale Hawerchuk: 2 Autographed Cards

Here is another great return I got today, 51 days in the making! I had sent Dale Hawerchuk a fan letter and six cards depicting him wearing the different uniforms of the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers on February 3rd, 2014, and got 2 of them back signed in blue sharpie on March 26th, 2014, the two teams that best defined his career:
Having played his junior career in the LHJMQ with the Cornwall Royals, winning the Memorial Cup in both of his seasons there, adding the Rookie Of The Year and Playoff MVP awards the first year and Canadian Major Junior Player Of The Year and Memorial Cup MVP honors in his second, which prompted the Jets to select him first overall in 1981, ahead of fellow Hall Of Famers Ron Francis and Grant Fuhr.

The Jets immediately improved from being bottom-feeders to playoff-bound (though at the time 16 of 21 teams made the cut...) and he became an All-Star Game fixture, as well as a frequent Team Canada key contributor, particularly in the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups. Unfortunately, they often found themselves facing Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs, which usually meant an early exit.

On Draft Day 1990, the Jets and Sabres made a blockbuster trade, when he and (the pick that would become) Brad May were traded for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and (the pick that would become) Keith Tkachuk. Booth teams won, because Hawerchuk would join Alexander Mogilny and Pat Lafontaine and provide Buffalo with one of the most potent offenses in the league.

He played half a season with the St. Louis Blues and an injury-plagued one with the Flyers before calling it quits, at the relatively young age of 34, with 518 goals, 891 assists and 1409 points in 1188 games, plus an impressive 30 goals and 99 points in 97 playoff games despite only once advancing past the second round (statistics and situations that kind of resemble those of Alex Ovechkin).

He was inducted in the Hall Of Fame in 2001.

As I mentioned before, I had sent him cards which better displayed his uniforms (and had home-and-away variants), but am still more than happy with what I did get back. First, at one point my most valuable of his (it is his rookie card, after all), from O-Pee-Chee's 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee (card #380), a close-up of his face shot during pre-game warm-ups with the Jets:
The corners have gotten dented over time and through shipping, but it's still his first card.

And from his days with the Sabres, from Upper Deck's 1992-93 Series 1 (card #302), wearing their white (home) uniform:
Again, a warm-up shot (though the picture on the back is an action shot), but we can clearly see his alternate captain's 'A'.

I had sent the cards care of the OHL's Barrie Colts, the team he coaches and operates. I thought of sending the CD cover to Québec band Les Dale Hawerchuk for him to sign (they took on his name as a tribute), but am kind of glad I didn't.

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