We knew Gino Odjick had problems psychologically, notably with his father's passing last year. But on Thursday evening Gino dropped a bomb in a letter to Canucks fans on Canucks.com:
Dear friends, teammates, and fans,
We have shared many great moments together over the years, but today I need to share news about the biggest fight of my life.
About two months ago I was diagnosed with a rare terminal disease called AL amyloidosis. It’s causing abnormal protein to be produced and deposits are being formed on my heart. It’s hardening my heart and my doctors aren’t sure how long I have to live. Initially they thought years, but now they think it could be a lot less. I could be down to months or even weeks.
I began fighting this disease a few days after Pat Quinn’s ring of honour night. I went to the hospital because I was short of breath and 48 hours later I received the news. I’ve been in the hospital under the supervision of some great doctors ever since. I also have the support of my kids, my sisters, my family and some great friends.
I’m telling you about this now because news is beginning to leak out and I wanted you to hear it from me. I also want you to know that my spirit is strong even if my body isn't. I'm going to use all of my time to be with my kids and everyone I love.
I feel very fortunate for my life. During my career I played in some great NHL cities including, Vancouver, Long Island, Philadelphia and Montreal. In my heart, I will always be a Canuck and I have always had a special relationship here with the fans. Your "Gino, Gino" cheers were my favourite. I wish I could hear them again. You have been amazing.
My teammates became like brothers and am thankful I had the opportunity this past year to re-unite with so many of them. I'll never forget my first NHL game against Chicago and my first goal. It also means the world to me that my hockey career gave me a chance to open doors for kids in Aboriginal community. I was just a little old Indian boy from the Rez. If I could do it, so could they. My hope is that my hockey story helps show kids from home what's possible. I always tell them that education is freedom.
I also made some great friends through hockey and away from the ice as well. Life-long friends who have been with me as I lived out my dream on the ice. It made the journey that much more special and cherished.
This isn't goodbye, but I wanted you to know what is happening. I'm going to stay strong and I hope to spend as much time with my kids as possible.
I understand the media will likely want to learn more, but I hope you can respect my request for privacy as I focus my time on my children and family.
So, while we cannot yet say goodbye to one of our heroes, because we hold out for a chance, I just wanted to let some of you know just who this Gino character is.
I am not going to write a 3000-word essay on the man. But I will forward some links and quotes from the Algonquin Assassin.
-Joe Pelletier from Greatest Hockey Legends nails it in regards to Gino and his legendary status in Vancouver here. Not kidding....if you really want to know what Odjick means to Canucks' history check that out. One of my fave parts of that post:
Odjick was a leader. He was more popular among teammates than with fans. He would go to any length to help out a teammate, on or off the ice.
Good god was he ever that guy. He apparently was a solid voice in the locker room, but a force on the ice more-so. Most notably was his friendship with Pavel Bure. He was Bure's cop. If you are too young to have experienced the Odjick era....let's go!
Let's dive into that interview.
The toughest guys he ever fought? Tie Domi and Dave Brown. Let's check the footage.
They fought 10 times, at least.
Did Odjick ever apologize for decking Hasek? He said: "No I wish I would have decked him more often."
Hasek must have punted one of Gino's kitties or somethin'. Or maybe he was an embellishing arse?
Odjick's career year was in 1993-94 when he scored 16 goals and 29 points. He told what's his name" in that segment:
"Pavel told me to go the the off-post and put my stick down and close my eyes."
I remember several examples of this, but cannot find them on You Tube,
On his penalty shot goal against Mike Vernon in 1991:
"I looked right and shot left."
Now, why did Odjick go ape-shit on the Blues in 1995? Because Glenn Anderson had speared his buddy Pavel Bure recently. Here's Odjick's attack:
-Gino is probably the only Canuck to go on record and slam the Messier era in Vancouver.
"Messier was brought here to help lead us and put us over the top as a team and everybody was on board waiting to go along with him," said Odjick, who was in his eighth season with the Canucks when traded to the New York Islanders March 23."We were all looking forward to the season positively. It was going to be great. But right from the start it was clear he wanted to have all the power and wanted his own people around him."He didn't break a sweat for the first 10 games and just waited for Tom Renney and Pat Quinn to get fired."He talks to ownership all the time and he's responsible for Keenan being here and he's part of most of the trades. He sits in for four hours with management every time there's a trade. He's responsible for a lot of the changes."Look what happened with Trevor (Linden) in St. Louis when Keenan gave him (hell). Did he come over to him and say, 'Look Trev, we're with you?' He didn't say a word. How can you be captain like that? How can the team be together that way? He's not with the players. He's the one who controls everything."
I wish I could find more of his goals on YT, because what he said about Bure's advice was true. Anyway, I'm just giving you punks a bit of a history lesson on a Canucks legend. A legend who defined "defending your teammates". A legend who is now fighting for his life.
Keep fighting, Gino!