Wayne “Gino” Odjick, 52, who struggled through a career in the National Hockey League and battled a debilitating illness in the final years of his life, has died.
Odjick, who played 12 seasons in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens, said the Montreal newspaper.
Referred to as “Beloved Enforcer” by the Montreal newspaperOdjick died of a heart attack on Sunday.
“I was there the whole time. He had a heart attack and couldn’t recover from it. We knew this day would come, we didn’t know when. We hoped much later,” said his friend Peter Leech, who had gone to the clinic with Odjick, where he died.
“Unfortunately, that big heart has given up the ghost,” he said. “He lived life, we always joked.”
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So to hear the death of Gino Odjick one of the hardest players to play the game. During his time in Vancouver, he drove shotgun for Pavel Bure. Thank god Gino. pic.twitter.com/83zlhZt5aP
— Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerDC) January 16, 2023
Canucks vice president Stan Smyl fondly remembered Odjick.
“He was a friend of mine and you and all of his fans there in BC and across North America. He was a very special person on the ice, what he had to do, but off the ice he was one of the friendliest people I’ve met and played with,” said Smyl.
“He was one of the funnest guys off the ice. He was always joking, always laughing in the dressing room. And that’s important,” Smyl continued. “When there was pressure, Gino knew when to make everyone laugh and ‘let’s take it easy. We will sort it out.'”
“The role he played as a player is one of the most difficult roles in hockey. And he coped very well. It’s a role where, as a player, you know when to be the tough guy and support your teammates. And he was always there for that,” said Smyl.
If you wanted to see how much Gino Odjick was loved by the city of Vancouver. These were well-wishers who cheered him on outside his hospital room after his AL amyloidosis diagnosis in 2014. The prognosis is between 13 and 40 months. That was almost nine years ago. A warrior to the end.💙 pic.twitter.com/wd6BkCSNY9
— Tyler G 🖖 (@Tytanium76G) January 16, 2023
“And he also knew when things weren’t going right on the ice or the team wasn’t quite playing at his level that he could go out there and stir it up and get the players excited to get them involved in the game and I think the best way To put it bluntly, he could put the team in a fight just by being Gino,” he said.
His sister Dina just kept writing it Facebook, and said, “Our hearts are broken. My brother Gino Odjick left us for the spirit world.”
Odjick has fought as a player and as a man. He announced in 2014 that he had been diagnosed with AL amyloidosis, a deadly and rare disease in which the cells that produce antibodies stop working properly, according to the Montreal Gazette.
At the time, he wrote an open letter to his fans, which said: “I’m very happy with the support I’ve received over the years. During my career I’ve played in some great NHL cities including Vancouver, Long Island, Philadelphia and Montreal. I will always be a Canuck in my heart and I’ve always had a special connection with the fans here.”
“I will always be a Canuck in my heart and I’ve always had a special connection with the fans here.”
The NHL Alumni Association is heartbroken to learn that Wayne “Gino” Odjick has passed away at the age of 52. pic.twitter.com/cjwWTYXnqN
— NHL Alumni (@NHLAlumni) January 16, 2023
“Gino was a fan favorite from the moment he joined the organization, putting his heart and soul into every shift on and off the ice,” said Francesco Aquilini, the Canucks chairman and governor.
“He inspired many and embodied what it means to be a Canuck. Personally, he was a close friend and confidante, someone I could turn to for advice and support. He will be greatly missed,” he said.
Odjick’s mark of 2,127 penalty minutes was unmatched in Vancouver history.
They don’t make them like Gino Odjick anymore…
And they never will again.
— Bodog (@BodogCA) January 15, 2023
Odjick was reportedly born in the Algonquin Nation community of Kitigan Zibi in Quebec NHL.com.
Betty Cahoose, health director for the Ulkatcho Indian Band in Anahim Lake, British Columbia, said that’s why he stood out the Montreal Gazette.
“I will always remember him as the toughest on the team. It was very exciting and we were very proud because he was First Nations,” she said.
https://www.westernjournal.com/tributes-pour-hockey-star-dies-heart-attack/ Tributes are pouring out after the hockey star dies of a heart attack