Musqueam Indian Band holds celebration of life for Wayne “Gino” Odjick

Click to play video: 'Musqueam Indian Band holds celebration of life for Wayne “Gino” Odjick'
Musqueam Indian Band holds celebration of life for Wayne “Gino” Odjick
Hundreds turned out Saturday to remember Canucks folk hero Wayne “Gino” Odjick as the Musqueam Indian Band held a celebration of life ceremony. Squire Barnes reports – Feb 4, 2023

A celebration of life ceremony was held Saturday afternoon for Canucks folk hero Wayne “Gino” Odjick, hosted by the Musqueam Indian Band.

A large crowd gathered at the Musqueam Community Centre in Vancouver for the 2 p.m. event.

The celebration of the Canuck legend kicked off with a traditional Musqueam Paddle Song led by Carl Point.

Read more: Vancouver Canucks fan favourite, Wayne ‘Gino’ Odjick, dies at 52

Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow spoke to the crowd afterwards.

“Gino could’ve run for premier and won. That’s just the kind of guy he was.,” Chief Sparrow said.

“It is an honour to be here and speak about Gino. He came as a friend and when he left, he was a brother. One of his last texts to me was that he was proud of me. That is worth more than a million words.”

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Over the following hour, a number of speakers talked about Odjick’s history and friendships, including former Vancouver Canuck Dave Babych.

Click to play video: 'Former Canuck Cliff Ronning remembers teammate Gino Odjick'
Former Canuck Cliff Ronning remembers teammate Gino Odjick

“We are here to celebrate. Gino was a big part of our lives as teammates,” Babych said.

“No matter what you called him — Gino, friend, dad, or teammate, we called him Chief. It was well deserved, it was no slight. He was our (leader).”

Musqueam band member Carl Point said while many other kids growing up at his school wanted to be Trevor Linden, him and all of his Indigenous buddies wanted to be like Gino.

“He was the man. We all wanted to be like Gino,” he said. “We raise our hands to Gino’s family for sharing him with us.”

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Canadian singer Aaron Pritchett also made an appearance and sang a song while playing the guitar.

Click to play video: 'Push grows for Canucks Ring honour for Gino Odjick'
Push grows for Canucks Ring honour for Gino Odjick

Gino’s long-time friend, Peter Leech, and his children addressed the crowd.

“It means a great deal to honour him this way. We had a lot of Elders out (Friday) night, that would have made Gino very proud,” Leech said.

“I would like to truly acknowledge all of Canuck nation. We knew he was loved but the love that we’ve seen in these past weeks has been unbelievable. I know a lot of the family has been overwhelmed and it brings a good feeling to my heart.”

Assembly of First Nation’s National Chief RoseAnn Archibald shared some words as well.

“I am here and honoured to speak on behalf of the 634 Chiefs across Turtle Island,” she said.

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“To his family and the many friends gathered here today, I want to offer you on behalf of all of those Chiefs and Councils our deepest condolences.”

Click to play video: 'BC Sports Hall of Fame curator remembers  legacy of Gino Odjick'
BC Sports Hall of Fame curator remembers legacy of Gino Odjick

Odjick, one of the most beloved players in Vancouver Canuck’s history, died at the age of 52 on Jan. 15, 2023.

In 2014, Odjick has diagnosed with Amyloidosis, a disease he says attacked his organs and his heart.

Odjick played 12 seasons in the NHL for the Canucks, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens.

He spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Canucks after being selected in the 1990 entry draft.

The former enforcer had 64 goals and 73 assists in 605 NHL games. Odjick was a key member of the 1994 Canucks Stanley Cup finalist team, playing 10 games in the playoffs for the team that lost a physical seven-game series to the New York Rangers. Odjick also did a lot of community work.

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His charity work started the moment he arrived in Vancouver. He had a focus on Indigenous charity work within the province.

Odjick’s number on the Canucks, 29, was his father’s residential school number. He wore it to honour his dad.

Click to play video: 'Beloved former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick dies'
Beloved former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick dies

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