Dale Hawerchuk has been diagnosed with stomach cancer.
The 56-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer is getting chemotherapy treatment, according to TSN. He took a leave of absence from his job as coach of Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League for health reasons in September.
Hawerchuk has coached Barrie since the 2010-11 season.
"The chemo has hit me pretty hard," Hawerchuk told the web site on Monday. "I do it one week and it breaks the body down and then the next week I take a break and build my body up so I can do it again. I have to do that for two months. I really struggle to eat and have a feeding tube, but the last few days I've been able to eat a little bit, too. You've got to keep your nutrition up.
"For some reason the Lord put me in this kind of fight and I'm ready to fight it. I want to live to tell the story."
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 the NHL 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.
"You don't have anything without your health, your family and your friends and sometimes we underrate that," Hawerchuk said. "An illness like this can definitely put things in perspective. My surgeon told me I've got a hell of a battle on my hands, but I'm young and healthy everywhere else.
"Like anything in life, you just got to dig in and go for what your goals are. It's kind of no different than trying to make the NHL. Who knew if I could make it, right?"