Few athletes in BC sport history have had their name chanted so fervently by stadium crowds as Gino Odjick. One of the most beloved and toughest Vancouver Canucks ever, Gino was known for taking on the NHL’s heavyweight enforcers through the 1990s and courageously protecting his teammates.
Of Algonquin heritage, Gino grew up on the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation reserve near Maniwaki, Quebec. He learned to play hockey on the reserve’s outdoor rink on teams coached by his father Joseph. As a youth Gino often spent his days at the rink in Maniwaki. Years later this rink was named in his honour.
After playing with Laval at the Memorial Cup tournament, Canucks scout Ron Delorme encouraged general manager Pat Quinn to draft Gino in the fifth round 86th overall at the 1990 NHL Draft. Called up by the Canucks later that year, he made an immediate impact and remained a key Canuck for the next eight seasons, including the 1994 run to the Stanley Cup Final. Often playing with close friend Pavel Bure, Gino worked tirelessly on his game and proved he could play with the very best. In the 1993-94 season, he totaled a career-high 16 goals and 29 points.
Over 12 NHL seasons with Vancouver, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, and Montreal, Gino played in 605 games and totaled 137 points. Of his 2,567 career penalty minutes (17th most in NHL history), 2,127 came with the Canucks—a club record that still stands.
In recognition of his NHL career and many years giving back to Indigenous communities, Gino was awarded the 2015 Indspire Award, the highest honour the Canadian Indigenous community bestows upon an individual.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
To read more on the career of Gino Odjick, please see the June 2022 Curator’s Corner article here: https://bcsportshall.com/curator-corner/gino-odjick-inspirational-fighter-2021-inductee-spotlight/