Tonight at the Pacific Coliseum, the Vancouver Giants will honour several local sports heroes as part of their “Heroes of Hastings” tribute before the game. Among those heroes is an all-time Canucks fan favourite, Gino Odjick.
The man simply known as Gino around Vancouver is easily the most popular tough guy in Canucks history and he was their second most popular player during the 90s, behind only Pavel Bure. Not only was Gino a great fighter, but he was fiercely loyal to his teammates and actually developed a unique friendship with Bure during their playing days.
Gino was also a bit of a loose cannon. You never really knew what he was going to do when he got that look in his eye while he was on the ice. This unpredictability was what made him so entertaining and such a fan favourite.
He probably wouldn't last in the NHL today, but Gino Odjick was an absolute beauty during his prime with the Canucks nearly 20 years ago.
Considering he is one of many being honoured tonight at the Vancouver Giants game, I thought it would be a good time to relive some of Gino’s most memorable moments as a Canuck, in no particular order. These include hits, the occasional goal and plenty of fights.
This first moment is a great way to summarize what Gino was all about.
Not only was he an entertaining fighter, but he often lost his shirt and his pads in fights, which the home fans loved.
If that wasn't enough, in this fight against former Edmonton Oiler Louie Debrusk, Odjick decided to taunt the Oilers bench and celebrate with his sleeveless shirt torn in half.
Like I said, Gino was a beauty!
Two of the league's toughest hockey fighters of the 90s take center stage as they dance the forbidden dance at the Pacific Coliseum on this night. Rob Ray is just as legendary in Buffalo as Gino Odjick is in Vancouver and this fight is an example of why fans loved them.
In the end, Gino gets the better of Ray and the fans show their appreciation while Gino heads to the penalty box.
The play-by-play broadcaster also confirms that Gino was second in popularity on the Canucks during their glory days of the early 90s.
Do you remember in the introduction when I stated that Gino wouldn't survive in today's NHL? This is why.
For better or for worse, Odjick would always stand up for his teammates, even if it meant retaliating to an opponent's foul play with a questionable hit of his own. As you can see by his gesture to the Buffalo Sabres player in the penalty box, Gino is clearly communicating that he took out goaltender Dominik Hasek in response to something his opponent did earlier in the game.
You could argue that Odjick's vigilante justice was warranted in this instance, especially considering Hasek was well out of his crease when he played the puck. However, there are a couple of other cases during Gino's time with the Canucks where you couldn't possibly justify his actions.
Tony Twist was arguably the best NHL fighter of all time and Gino took him down in this tilt.
The two heavyweights had tangled earlier in the game and Twist thoroughly defeated Odjick in that battle, so clearly this victory was Gino's revenge.
The fans tell the story after the two fighters retire to the penalty box. "Gino! Gino! Gino! Gino!"
Odjick didn't score a single postseason goal in his entire NHL career until his last trip to the playoffs in 1996. It was during the Canucks' first-round loss to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions from Colorado that Odjick would score three goals in just six games.
This particular goal is his most memorable of the bunch because of the celebration. The running man on skates is something you just don't see anymore. Well done, Gino!
Did you know that Gino Odjick once wore the No. 66 while playing for the Canucks?
Well, he did during his inaugural game of his inaugural NHL season.
Apparently, Gino was a fan of Mario Lemieux and chose No. 66 for that reason. However, the NHL phoned the Canucks and requested that Gino change numbers and they obliged. From then on, Gino wore his familiar No. 29.
As for this particular fight, it was actually Odjick's second career NHL fight, even though it was his first game. He fought Dave Manson earlier in that game, but this fight against Stu Grimson (aka the Grim Reaper) was a great tilt because Gino defeated one of the best heavyweights in NHL history.
The only thing that isn't memorable about this fight is the terrible camera angle and the players blocking our view of the ending.
Gino might not have won this fight, but he definitely entertained the fans!
Odjick and Domi threw haymakers with no regard for their own safety in this tilt. Perhaps the moment that makes this fight memorable for me is when Gino loses his jersey and Domi has it in his hand and momentarily whips it around before tossing it aside.
Clearly, this fight took place before the NHL created the rule where a player receives a game misconduct if his jersey is not tied down.
This was Gino's only true toe-to-toe fight in the playoffs during his time as a Canuck and it was epic.
The referees certainly let Odjick and Marty McSorley duke it out for a long time and the fans appreciated that.
I always give bonus points for a good fight in the playoffs and that's why I believe this heavyweight scrap is one of Gino's most memorable moments in a Canucks uniform.
If you still need proof as to how popular Gino Odjick was with his teammates and the fans in Vancouver, just watch the reaction to this penalty shot goal against the Calgary Flames.
Gino is mobbed by his teammates and the fans at the Pacific Coliseum roar louder than any regular-season cheer I've ever heard.
While this list is not ranked in any particular order, I intentionally saved the moment in Gino's career that 99 percent of Canucks fans remember the most for the end.
Do you remember how I stated that Gino was a bit of a loose cannon in the introduction? Well, this is a perfect example.
Near the end of a first-round playoff game in 1995 against the St. Louis Blues, a brouhaha erupts and Gino is looking to fight anyone and everyone on the Blues roster. He raises his fists and skates around the ice looking for a dance partner, while the Blues do their best to avoid him until Adam Creighton finally steps up.
Creighton was not a fighter by any stretch of the imagination and it shows, as he eventually turtles while Odjick pounds on his back. Gino then goes after Glenn Anderson, causing him to skate away in terror.
Anderson may be in the hockey Hall of Fame, but on this night he was humiliated by Gino Odjick. Then again, I probably would have skated away from a shirtless Gino Odjick as well.
Gino is truly a legend in the eyes of Canucks nation and he will be one of many honoured tonight at the Pacific Coliseum because of it.
This slideshow is a part of the Replace The KB blog competition at The Province Sports. If you enjoyed this compilation of Gino's most memorable Canucks moments, click here and give it a thumbs-up rating. Thank you.