Dale Hawerchuk has taken a leave of absence from his job as coach of Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League because of health reasons.
The 56-year-old has coached Barrie since the 2010-11 season.
"We are a tight and close family here, and it's difficult to have to make announcements like this," Barrie president Howie Campbell told Simcoe.com on Tuesday. "[Hawerchuk] is facing some health issues and will be taking the time he needs to deal with that situation. Our best wishes and thoughts are with [Hawerchuk] and his family during this difficult time. We're confident we'll have everything the team needs to have a great run this year. All of us want to see [Hawerchuk] back as soon as possible, and we look forward to that day."
Among the players Hawerchuk has coached at Barrie are Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele, Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Pearson, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, New Jersey Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, and Carolina Hurricanes forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Ryan Suzuki, the No. 28 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Hawerchuk, who was selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the No. 1 pick in the 1981 NHL Draft, is 20th in NHL history with 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 games with the Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers. He retired after helping the Flyers advance to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.