Tributes pour in for legendary Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick

Jan 16 2023, 3:59 am

Tributes are pouring in for Gino Odjick, following the news of the Vancouver Canucks legend’s death today. He was 52.

Odjick was one of the most popular players in Canucks history, with both fans and his teammates. That’s evident by the stream of messages posted on social media today, remembering the beloved ex-enforcer.

One of the toughest players to ever play for the Canucks, off the ice Gino was remembered for his caring personality and what he meant to the First Nations community.

News of Odjick’s passing circulated during this afternoon’s Canucks game in Carolina. Minutes after John Shorthouse made the sad announcement, Ethan Bear scored for Vancouver.

“I heard I scored right after he passed, so I think that is pretty powerful. It was meant to be, maybe he was there for me on that shot,” said Bear, who is also Indigenous.

“Gino was there for me,” Bear explained, saying that Odjick spoke to him earlier this season when he was a healthy scratch while a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Bear was only five years old when Odjick retired from pro hockey, but it’s clear that Gino was an important player for him growing up in Saskatchewan.

“Everybody knew who Gino Odjick was, growing up,” said Bear. “He was definitely one of the first Indigenous players to make a trail for the rest of us. Definitely whenever you lose a legend like that, someone who is a big influence in the native community, it’s tough.”

Stan Smyl, who spent eight seasons in Vancouver with Odjick as a teammate and coach, described Gino as “one of the kindest human beings” that he ever met.

He also explained why Odjick was an important member of the Canucks teams in the 1990s.

“As a team, you need the Trevor Lindens and the Pavel Bures and the Kirk McLeans and the Jyrki Lummes,” said Smyl. “But you also need the type of players that were going to be there in the tough times. When it got down to the nitty gritty, nobody intimidated those players because Gino was around.”

Another former teammate of Odjick’s, Cliff Ronning, is calling for Gino to be inducted into the Canucks’ Ring of Honour. Odjick was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame last June.

“I was very fortunate to have Gino as a friend,” Ronning said in an Instagram post. “He was the greatest teammate anyone could ever ask for. Rest in Peace Gino… Ring of honour!”

Here’s a selection of the tributes shared today for Gino from ex-players, media, and fans.

 

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A post shared by Cliff Ronning (@cliffronning7)

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