Gino Odjick proudly defended the Vancouver Canucks’ colors for seven seasons in the 1990s, and the British Columbia lineup returned it well by paying a handsome tribute to him on Wednesday night.
The Quebecer died of a heart attack on Sunday at the age of 52. If the announcement of his death sent a minor shockwave in Belle Province, it also had a major impact on the Vancouver area, where Odjick had become a fan favorite.
Before the clash against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the organization had invited several former teammates of the Maniwaki native to the ice at Rogers Arena. All Canucks players also wore the team’s classic black jersey with Odjick’s number 29.
“His teammates stood straighter and ran more freely as Gino always had their backs. Generous and compassionate, Gino was a gentle giant, a friend to all who never stopped giving and making life better for everyone he met. He was an inspiration to First Nations and a generation of Indigenous hockey players,” the Canucks House Speaker said during the ceremony.
Known for his toughness, Odjick played 605 games in the National Hockey League. He had 137 goals and 2,567 penalty minutes with the Canucks, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, and Montreal Canadiens.