Gino Odjick, a big left winger/enforcer who had a brief tenure with the Philadelphia Flyers, died Sunday at age 52.
The Province in British Columbia said he died of a heart attack. In 2014, he was diagnosed with a rare terminal heart disease.
Odjick played 12 NHL seasons, including eight in Vancouver, where he became a fan favorite because of his fighting and fearless play. “Gino, Gino” chants were often heard when he was on the ice.
He was a key member of the 1994 Canucks team that reached the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the New York Rangers in seven games.
The Flyers acquired him from the New York Islanders on Feb. 15, 2000, and he spent parts of two seasons with Philadelphia.
The Flyers sent left winger Mikael Andersson and a fifth-round draft pick to the Isles in the 2000 deal.
Gives Flyers a ‘Weapon’
At the time, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said Odjick “has some aggression and nastiness about him, and it favors our club. If you’re going to go to war, you have to have the weapons. Our preference is for all these guys not to take penalties, but to play clean and hard. By having this muscle in our lineup, there will be less reason for other teams to want to mix it up with us.”
Clarke called Odjick a “real good penalty killer.”
Odjick, who was proud of his Indigenous heritage and and once said it “gave me a chance to open doors for the Aboriginal community, played 13 games with the Flyers that season. Oddly, he was not involved in any fights until his second year in Philly. He scored three goals, including a game-winner, in Year 1 in Philadelphia.
The winger dressed in 17 games for the Flyers the next season, collecting four points and 28 penalty minutes. He was traded to Montreal in December for P.J. Stock and a sixth-round 2001 draft pick that turned out to be defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
With Vancouver, Odjick had seasons of 348, 370, and 371 penalty minutes, and he once scored 16 goals in 76 games (1993-94).
In his 605-game career, Odjick had 64 goals and 2,567 penalty minutes. He had four goals and 142 penalty minutes in 44 playoff games.