The Quebec Nordiques selected Dale Hunter in the 2nd round, 41st overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. A native of Petrolia, Ontario, Hunter played three seasons of junior hockey in the OHA with the Kitchener Rangers and the Sudbury Wolves. In his draft year, Hunter scored 42 goals and 110 points in 59 games for the Wolves while spending 188 minutes in the penalty box. That feistiness would be one of the traits that made him on of the most popular players in Nordiques' history.
In 1980-81, Hunter played in all 80 games for the Nords and scored 19 goals and 63 points while amassing 226 minutes in penalties. Hunter roved to be extremely resilient and reliable, missing just three games in his first six years with the club. His best offensive season was in 1983-84, when he scored 79 points in 77 games. During those years in Quebec, Hunter may best be remembered for fuelling an ongoing intense rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens. In 1987, Hunter missed 34 games of the season after breaking his leg. It was the first time he had ever missed any games due to injury.
In 1987-88, Hunter joined the Washington Capitals where he played for 12 seasons. The pinnacle of his career in Washington was in 1998 when the team advanced to the Stanley Cup finals before losing to the defending champion Detroit Red Wings.
In a last-ditch effort to win a championship, the Capitals sent Hunter to the Colorado Avalanche for the 1999 playoff drive, but the team came up short, losing to the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals. Hunter retired at the age of 39, having played 19 years in the NHL. He played in 1,407 games, scoring 323 goals, 697 assists and 1,020 points while spending 3,565 minutes in the penalty box.
After retiring from the game, Hunter became co-owner, president and head coach of the OHL's London Knights. His club captured a Memorial Cup in 2005 and produced a number of future NHL stars.