Dale Hunter

Dale Hunter
Born (1960-07-31) July 31, 1960
Petrolia, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Quebec Nordiques
Washington Capitals
Colorado Avalanche
NHL Draft 41st overall, 1979
Quebec Nordiques
Playing career 19801999

Dale Robert Hunter (born July 31, 1960) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and the former head coach of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and current co-owner, president, and head coach of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Hunter was born in Petrolia, Ontario, but grew up in Oil Springs, Ontario, and was one of three brothers, with Dave and Mark, to play in the NHL.

NHL career

Quebec Nordiques

He was selected 41st overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft and played seven seasons in Quebec.

According to his former Quebec Nordiques coach Michel Bergeron, even though Hunter was nicknamed the "Nuisance" on ice (La Petite Peste in French), he was known to be "humble" in the dressing room and a sort of "gentleman", close to all the players. He was the "perfect player", always the first to arrive at practice and ready to do all his best for the team. Thanks to his charisma, Hunter was a fan favourite in both Quebec and Washington. His leaving made Quebec very sad, and was seen as an obvious "mistake" linked to the team's future decline.[1]

Hunter was traded to the Washington Capitals along with Clint Malarchuk in return for two players and a 1987 first-round draft pick the Nordiques then used to select Joe Sakic.

Washington Capitals

Hunter served as the team captain for the Capitals. In the 1993 Patrick Division Semifinals between the Capitals and New York Islanders, Hunter led his team with seven postseason goals, and was suspended 21 games for illegally and viciously checking and separating the shoulder of Islanders' star Pierre Turgeon.[2] This illegal check occurred after Turgeon had stolen an errant pass of Hunter's and subsequently scored. As Turgeon was celebrating, Hunter came up from behind and checked an unsuspecting Turgeon into the boards. As a result of the incident, Hunter was suspended for the first 21 games of the 1993-94 season.

He broke the 1,000 points barrier (and is the NHL record holder for requiring the most games to do so by a forward, at 1,308, as well having the most penalty minutes when reaching that scoring milestone). He played in the NHL All-Star game in 1997.

The following year, he led the fourth seeded Capitals to their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, defeating the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Buffalo Sabres. In the finals, the Capitals were swept by the defending Cup champions, the Detroit Red Wings, with the first three games being decided by one goal.

Colorado Avalanche

Hunter finished off his career with the Colorado Avalanche, the successor to the Nordiques, and helped the team to reach the Western Conference finals, losing in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Dallas Stars. On that team, he often played on the same line as two other renowned pest role players -- Claude Lemieux and Theoren Fleury.


Hunter's sweater number (#32) was retired by the Capitals on March 11, 2000. During the ceremony, the Capitals presented Hunter with one of the penalty boxes from the Capital Centre (the Capitals former home arena), symbolic of his exceptional amount of time served for penalties.

In 2000, Hunter and his brother, Mark—also a former NHL player—teamed up with Dale's former teammate on the Nordiques, Basil McRae, to buy the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Dale became team president and head coach. He led the Knights to the 2005 and 2016 Memorial Cup. On January 1, 2006, the Hunter brothers were named to the 2006 Mayor's New Year's Honours List for Sports by the City of London, Ontario. Hunter's older brother Dave Hunter is also a former NHLer. His son Dylan Hunter is an assistant coach for the Knights and his other son Tucker also played for the London Knights before pursuing his education at the University of Western Ontario.

On November 28, 2011, Hunter resigned his position as head coach of the Knights to take the same position with the Washington Capitals, succeeding Bruce Boudreau.[3] His brother Mark then took over as Knights coach. Hunter's defense oriented system caused some conflict with star Alexander Ovechkin but it helped the struggling Capitals make the playoffs, where they upset the defending Stanley Cup champions Boston Bruins in the first round before being eliminated by the New York Rangers, both postseason series going to seven games. On May 14, 2012, Hunter announced he was not returning to coach the Capitals in the 2012-2013 season, choosing instead to return to the London Knights.[4]

Accolades and controversy

Late in the deciding Game 6 of the 1993 Patrick Division Semifinals between the Capitals and New York Islanders, Pierre Turgeon stole the puck from Hunter and scored, putting the game out of reach. Hunter, who was trailing Turgeon on the play, checked Turgeon well after the goal as he started to celebrate. Turgeon sustained a separated shoulder from the hit, causing him to miss all but Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, as well as most of the series against the Montreal Canadiens in the conference finals. New NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who had earlier promised to crack down on violence, suspended Hunter for the first 21 games of the 1993–94 season—at the time, the longest suspension in league history for an on-ice incident (in terms of games missed). Years later, Hunter admitted that he'd gone too far.[5]

With amassing a staggering 3565 penalty minutes, Hunter currently has the second-most penalty minutes in NHL history, after Dave "Tiger" Williams (although Hunter played 1,407 games to Williams' 962). When the Capitals retired his No. 32 jersey, he was presented with the penalty box from the demolished Capital Centre at the retirement ceremony. Hunter is the only NHL player ever to score over 1,000 points and rack up over 3,000 penalty minutes (1,020 points and 3,565 PIMs over 1,407 NHL games).

As of the end of the 2005–06 NHL season, he holds the record for most number of playoff games played without playing for a Stanley Cup-winning team, at 186 games. He scored in overtime for Quebec in Game 5 of their 1982 opening round best-of-five series vs. the Montreal Canadiens, and in 1988 scoring against Ron Hextall on a breakaway in overtime for Washington in Game 7 of their opening round best-of-7 series vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, making Hunter the first player in NHL history to score two overtime series-clinching goals in the playoffs.

In July 2006, Hunter was arrested and charged with DUI.[6] The charges were dropped when the presiding judge ruled that his rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated for unlawful detention and being denied his right to his lawyer.

In September 2005, Hunter was suspended by the Ontario Hockey League for four games after a player left the bench to initiate a fight in an exhibition game.

On January 20, 2006, Hunter was suspended for two games and his team was fined $5,000 for Hunter's off ice abuse of the officials. In May 2006, Hunter was fined $5,000 by the OHL for criticizing officials after the Knights were eliminated from the playoffs in four straight games. In September 2006, Hunter was suspended by the OHL for two games after forward Matt Davis left the bench to engage in a fight during a game; OHL rules state that there is an automatic suspension for both the player and the coach if a player leaves the bench to become involved in an altercation.

Career statistics

Playing career

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1977–78 Kitchener Rangers OMJHL 68 22 42 64 115 9 1 0 1 32
1978–79 Sudbury Wolves OMJHL 59 42 68 110 188 10 4 12 16 47
1979–80 Sudbury Wolves OMJHL 61 34 51 85 189 9 6 9 15 45
1980–81 Quebec Nordiques NHL 80 19 44 63 226 5 4 2 6 34
1981–82 Quebec Nordiques NHL 80 22 50 72 272 16 3 7 10 52
1982–83 Quebec Nordiques NHL 80 17 46 63 206 4 2 1 3 24
1983–84 Quebec Nordiques NHL 77 24 55 79 232 9 2 3 5 41
1984–85 Quebec Nordiques NHL 80 20 52 72 209 17 4 6 10 97
1985–86 Quebec Nordiques NHL 80 28 42 70 265 3 0 0 0 15
1986–87 Quebec Nordiques NHL 46 10 29 39 135 13 1 7 8 56
1987–88 Washington Capitals NHL 79 22 37 59 240 14 7 5 12 98
1988–89 Washington Capitals NHL 80 20 37 57 219 6 0 4 4 29
1989–90 Washington Capitals NHL 80 23 39 62 233 15 4 8 12 61
1990–91 Washington Capitals NHL 76 16 30 46 234 11 1 9 10 41
1991–92 Washington Capitals NHL 80 28 50 78 205 7 1 4 5 16
1992–93 Washington Capitals NHL 84 20 59 79 198 6 7 1 8 35
1993–94 Washington Capitals NHL 52 9 29 38 131 7 0 3 3 14
1994–95 Washington Capitals NHL 45 8 15 23 101 7 4 4 8 24
1995–96 Washington Capitals NHL 82 13 24 37 112 6 1 5 6 24
1996–97 Washington Capitals NHL 82 14 32 46 125
1997–98 Washington Capitals NHL 82 8 18 26 103 21 0 4 4 30
1998–99 Washington Capitals NHL 50 0 5 5 102
1998–99 Colorado Avalanche NHL 12 2 4 6 17 19 1 3 4 38
NHL totals 1407 323 697 1020 3565 186 42 76 118 729

Coaching career


TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
GWLOTLPtsDivision rankResult
Washington Capitals2011-12 6030237(92)2nd in SoutheastLost in Conference Semi-Finals


TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
LDN2001–02 682427107655th in WestLost in second round
LDN2002–03 68312773722nd in MidwestLost in second round
LDN2003–04 685311221101st in MidwestLost in third round
LDN2004–05 68597201201st in MidwestWon Memorial Cup
LDN2005–06 684915-41021st in MidwestLost in OHL Finals
LDN2006–07 685014-41041st in MidwestLost in third round
LDN2007–08 683824-6822nd in MidwestLost in first round
LDN2008–09 684916-31011st in MidwestLost in third round
LDN2009–10 684916-31011st in MidwestLost in second round
LDN2010–11 683429-5735th in MidwestLost in first round
LDN2011–12 26205-1(99)1st in Midwest(left to take Capitals coaching job)
LDN2012–13 685013-51051st in MidwestWon J. Ross Robertson Cup
LDN2013–14 684914-51033rd in MidwestLost in second round
LDN2014–15 684024-4843rd in MidwestLost in second round
LDN2015–16 685114-31052nd in MidwestWon Memorial Cup
LDN2016–17 684615-7993rd in MidwestLost in second round
LDN2017–18 683925-4823rd in MidwestLost in first round
Total1114731296216615498 Division Titles2 Memorial Cups

See also


  1. "Les Nordiques, notre équipe", video documentary (French), Imavision, 1998 (see also DVD reed. 2006).
  2. Crothers, Time (December 6, 1993). "Dale Hunter". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  3. "Capitals Name Dale Hunter Head Coach". November 28, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  4. "Hunter won't return as Capitals coach". May 14, 2012.
  5. Kuzmiak, Eric (April 28, 2008). "A Trip Through Hockey History: Remembering the Dale Hunter Cheapshot".
  6. Kemick, April (August 20, 2006). "Knights coach charged with drunk driving".
Preceded by
Kevin Hatcher
Washington Capitals captain
Succeeded by
Adam Oates
Preceded by
Lindsay Hofford
Head coach of the London Knights
Succeeded by
Mark Hunter
Preceded by
Bruce Boudreau
Head coach of the Washington Capitals
Succeeded by
Adam Oates
Preceded by
Mark Hunter
Head coach of the London Knights
Succeeded by
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