Howie Campbell said a familiar face may be back spending more time at the rink soon.
The Barrie Colts president and owner said head coach Dale Hawerchuk, who had to take a leave of absence with the OHL team in late August after being diagnosed with stomach cancer, is on the mend from stomach surgery he had in early January.
“It looks like Dale is getting better by the day, so we’re expecting maybe a quick return for him as well,” said Campbell on Monday night after the club replaced interim head coach Warren Rychel behind the bench with assistant coach Todd Miller. “That’s a real positive note.”
The longtime 56-year-old Colts coach underwent a complete gastrectomy on Jan. 6th to remove his stomach along with a tumour and cancerous cells after previously undergoing chemotherapy in an effort to eliminate the cancer.
Hawerchuk said he was feeling as good as he had in some time just before the surgery and according to Campbell may be ready to help out a little more with the team.
“I spoke about an hour with him on the phone last night and he’s back at home after the surgery,” a thrilled Campbell said. “He’s recouping well and he’s excited. He’s talking about being here in the next week and being in the arena more, and being around the kids. He’s got to build his stamina back after the surgery and won’t be able to go on the ice, but just having him back in the locker room is going to be a big lift for these young kids.
“He can help Miller over the phone and help Miller prepare for games and what to watch for. Miller knows the way Dale thinks anyway, so having him there and being a good quarterback to help get through the final way here to make the playoffs is going to be a big help.”
The Hockey Hall of Famer and former Winnipeg Jets great is in his 10th season with the Colts and has recorded a record of 305-269-38 behind the bench.