Dawes began his National Hockey League career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1947. He also played for the Montreal Canadiens. He left the NHL following the 1951 season and played in the minor leagues and seniors until 1966–67 before retiring from hockey.
In the NHL, he played in 32 games, scoring 2 goals and 7 assists.
He missed the entire 1952-53 season due to injury. He started the 1953-54 season as the coach of the junior Galt Black Hawks but then quit to play again. Later on he would coach the senior Kamloops Chiefs and the Yorkton Terriers.