(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC) – The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is mourning the loss of the much-loved and respected hockey player Gino Odjick. Gino was from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation and his hard work and career in the National Hockey League (NHL) helped to forge pathways and support dreams for other Indigenous players. He played for the Vancouver Canucks for eight seasons, from 1990 to 1998, during which his passion for the game spilled over to his fans.
“Gino was one of the best hockey players and a good-hearted human being who always made time for his fans and admirers. He especially worked hard for Indigenous youth as he mentored and advocated to create opportunities for them,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “I send my sincerest condolences to Gino’s family and friends at this time. May the Creator bless and guide him in his final journey.”
Other First Nations NHL players who have acknowledged the influence of Gino Odjick on their own work and careers include Ethan Bear and Carey Price. He inspired youth to pursue education to overcome barriers and other challenges that First Nations face.
“Gino Odjick will be missed, but his legacy as an Indigenous youth who grew up on the Rez and who worked hard to make his dreams come true to play in the NHL will continue to resonate with Indigenous youth,” stated Chief Lynda Price, BCAFN board director. “I remember and appreciate Gino’s presence at the 2008 Cowichan Leaders Gathering, as well as his support of the BC Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation Declaration.”
Gino Odjick died suddenly on Monday at the age of 52.