Gino Odjick was of Algonquin heritage, and when he made a name for himself in the big league, he earned the nickname ”Algonquin Assassin.”
However, it was never written in the stars that Gino Odjick would be an NHL player.
Gino actually didn’t play in an organized team until he was 11. He had played in local teams managed by his father, Joe.
When he was 15, he actually had thought of quitting hockey, but he gave it a shot with a try-out for a team from Ontario. And that was the start of something great.
Odjick quickly realized he had great talents when it came to fighting. Odjick was always a big guy, and he had a mindset that took him far.
Odjick played two seasons with the Laval Titan of the QMJHL, but when the NHL Entry Draft arrived in 1990, he didn’t have high hopes or expectations.
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The first round passed, and the second one as well. The third and fourth: Gino Odjick still wasn’t picked. But it didn’t come as a shock.
When Odjick was selected as the 86th overall, he wasn’t even around. Odjick had left the building, and the reason why is hilarious. Odjick thought he would have to sit in the stadium for a long while and didn’t want to do it on an empty stomach.
”I was having a hot dog when I got drafted,” Odjick said.
”They usually have a break after the fourth round so I went across the street. I was ranked in the ninth round so I thought I had a lot of time. Somebody said, ’Hey you were just drafted.’ Everybody was looking for me.”
When he finally made it down to the Canucks’ draft table, his new coach, Bob McCammon, approached him.
”Geez, we had to draft you. Ron Delorme was pouting ever since the second round every time we picked someone else, we finally had to draft you. You better do a good job in camp, kid.”
And he did. Odjick played 12 seasons in the NHL for the Canucks, Islanders, Flyers, and Canadiens. He spent his first eight seasons with the Canucks, and holds the franchise records in penalty minutes, with his 2,127.
On Sunday, Gino Odjick died at the age of 52.
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