Beloved former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick has died at age 52.
Gino’s sister Dina Odjick shared the news of his passing on Facebook, with the Canucks later confirming the sad news.
“The Vancouver Canucks and Aquilini family mourn the tragic passing of Gino Odjick,” the Canucks said in a statement shared on social media. “The entire Canucks organization extends our heartfelt condolences and love to all of Gino’s family and friends.”
Rest in peace 💙 pic.twitter.com/Jg1UDO4pFe
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) January 16, 2023
— Lance George (@imlancegeorge) January 15, 2023
Postmedia’s Patrick Johnston is reporting heart attack as the cause of death, per Odjick’s longtime friend Peter Leech.
Gino Odjick is dead of a heart attack at 52.
Just spoke with Peter Leech, @ginodjick's longtime friend, who was with Gino today in his final moments.
A big heart has been lost.
Comments from Stan Smyl to be added shortly.
First story here:https://t.co/i0YGL9x7rt
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) January 16, 2023
One of the most popular players in Canucks history, Odjick spent the first eight seasons of his career in Vancouver after being selected by the team in the 1990 draft. He was traded to to New York Islanders in 1998, and went on to play for the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens before retiring from pro hockey in 2002.
Odjick played 12 seasons in the NHL, scoring 137 points (64-73-137) in 605 games across his NHL career.
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One of the toughest players of his generation, Odjick is the all-time Canucks leader in penalty minutes, with 2,127. Canucks fans would often serenade Gino by chanting his name, something that continued even after he retired whenever he was introduced at Rogers Arena.
“He was one of the greatest teammates that I played with,” said Canucks VP of hockey operations Stan Smyl, who played with and coached Odjick in Vancouver. “He took that role, he took it proud, and he just wanted to win as a Canuck.”
Odjick was a member of the 1994 Canucks Stanley Cup finalist team, playing 10 games in the playoffs for the team.
“Gino was a fan-favourite from the moment he joined the organization, putting his heart and soul into every shift on and off the ice,” said Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini. “He inspired many and embodied what it means to be a Canuck. Personally, he was a close friend and confidant, someone I could lean on for advice and support. He will be deeply missed.”
Back in June 2022 on an interview with the Donnie and Dhali on CHEK TV, Odjick gave an update on his health, as he was first diagnosed with a rare heart disease called amyloidosis in 2014 that later hospitalized him again in 2020.
“Everything’s in remission, so touch wood that it stays that way,” he said. “You really appreciate life when you get sick like that; you don’t take life for granted anymore.”
Gino was hospitalized again last August, to deal with an infection.