From 1991-1997, Gino Odjick played for the Vancouver Canucks. Despite only playing eight seasons, he is arguably one of the most liked players in franchise history. It does not matter if fans saw him play; those who follow the team know who Odjick is and the important role he played for the Canucks in the ’90s. He gave so much to this organization on and off the ice, and now it is time for the Canucks to pay tribute to his dedication by inducting him into the Ring of Honour.
What is the Canucks Ring Of Honour?
The Ring of Honour is designed to honour those players that made a lasting impact while playing for the Canucks. The display seen high above the rafters is an honour that only seven former players have had bestowed upon them.
These are the players that had great careers while playing with the Canucks, but not the superstar career needed to have their jersey number retired. Although Odjick never put up eye-popping scoring numbers, he stood up for his teammates and played a part in Pavel Bure having so much success as a Vancouver Canucks.
Odjick’s Career in Vancouver
Odjick was drafted by the Canucks in 1990 with the 86th overall pick. He made the team out of training camp in 1990, where he had 296 penalty minutes in 45 games. By the end of his career in Vancouver, he had become the all-time franchise leader in penalty minutes with 2,127 in 444 games. A franchise record that will most likely never be broken.
What people will remember most about Odjick’s time in Vancouver is his friendship with the Hockey Hall of Famer Bure. The Russian Rocket touched down in Vancouver during the 1991-92 season and wowed fans with his speed and goal-scoring ability. As with many superstars in the NHL, this meant he had a target on his back. Luckily, the Canucks had a 6’3, 216-pound left-winger who didn’t mind being a bodyguard to one of the NHL’s elite.
Throughout history, it is not uncommon for stars to have had a protector. Wayne Gretzky had Dave Semenko; Steve Yzerman had Bob Probert and Bure had Odjick. If any player around the league thought they could get away with a cheap shot on the Russian Rocket, they would have to deal with “the Algonquin Assassin.” He provided fans with an opportunity to jump out of their seats in excitement as he would take on any challenger regardless of who they were or how many players were trying to take him on at one time.
Volunteer Work in the Community
Odjick, a member of the Algonquin First Nations, has spent many hours in First Nations communities across British Columbia. His goal is to inspire youth in these communities by telling his story, from life on a reserve to playing in the Stanley Cup Final.
He has recently opened up about his family history with the residential school system and how it affected his life. He has been a great ambassador for the city, cares about his community, and wants to give back to those who supported him. He has given so much to the province; now it is time for him to be properly honoured by the Canucks.
Why He Deserves to Be in the Ring of Honour
It is hard to name a player who fans adore more than Odjick. When he was diagnosed with a rare blood condition in 2014, hundreds of fans showed up outside the hospital to start a “Gino” chant to show their appreciation for the man nicknamed “the Algonquin Assassin.” Despite only being given a few months to live, he continued fighting and is now in remission. Recently, it was also announced that he would be enshrined in the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame for his work on the ice and off it volunteering with First Nations youth across the province.
There is a big fan push to get Odjick into the Ring of Honour, from the fans in the stands to even the premier of British Columbia. He is a legend for this organization and deserves recognition for everything he has done for the Canucks. Putting him in the Ring of Honour should be a no-brainer and an easy way for the Canucks to bring joy to a fan base that hasn’t had a lot to cheer about in the last eight years.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.