Thu. May 26th, 2022

Former Vancouver Canucks player Gino Odjick is among the BC Sports Hall of Fame 2021-induced, announced today (October 7).

Ten other individuals and a team were also led into the organization’s Hall of Champions, which has honored 416 people and 64 teams since its founding in 1966.

“After months of anticipation, we’re getting the energy to start telling the stories and marking the outstanding achievements of our class in 2021,” Hall of Fame President Tom Mayenknecht said in a Oct. 7 release. “Honoring the past – and inspiring the future – is at the heart of the BC Sports Hall of Fame’s mission, and this year’s honors are truly examples of the best in sports in this province and beyond.”

Odjick, a blue left winger primarily known for protecting team star forward Pavel Bure and captain Trevor Linden in the 1990s, was drafted by the Canucks 86th overall in 1990 and played most of eight seasons with the team before being traded to New York Islanders in the year 1997-98.

He also played for the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Candiens before retiring in 2002 after suffering a concussion.

Known differently as “the Maniwaki Mauler” (after his birthplace in Quebec) and “Algonquin Assassin” (due to his First Nations legacy), Odjick fought two infamous Chicago Blackhawk enforcers, Stu Grimson and Dave Manson, in his first NHL play after an emergency call from the IHL’s Milwaukee Admirals at the Canucks in the 190-91 season.

Vancouver fans quickly made Odjick a favorite, primarily to use his fists to defend the team’s stars — especially Russian player Bure, with whom he became a best friend and roommate — and in just 45 games the first season, he received 296 penalties minutes.

He exceeded 300 penalty minutes in three other Canucks seasons, and he became infamous after a 1995 quarterfinal match in the Western Conference against St. Louis. Louis Blues as he took on the opposition’s entire contingent on the ice while bare-chested after Bure received a stick to the eye.

Video of St Louis Blues Vancouver Canucks Hockey Brawl Gino Odjick goes after everyone

Odjick also famously scored on a penalty kick in 1991 against Calgary Flames goalkeeper Mike Vernon.

By his retirement, Odjick had amassed 2,567 penalty minutes in 605 games with four teams (444 of them with the Cancucks) over 12 NHL seasons. He also collected 137 points (64 goals and 73 assists) over the course of his NHL career, culminating in the 1993-94 season when he scored 16 goals along with Bure.

Four other individual athletes were admitted to the hall: Jason Delesalle (Paralympic athlete), Gerry Gilmore (field hockey, basketball and softball), former Vancouver Whitecap and Canada national team member Dale Mitchell (football) and Eli Pasquale (basketball).

Gene Kiniski

The builder / coach category welcomed three new members: Judy Broom (field hockey), David Cox (sports psychology) and sports administrator Kelly Mann (multisport). Former professional wrestler Gene Kiniski won selection as a pioneer, and Karin Larsen secured a place in media grouping.

The team selection for 2021 is the Vancouver Firefighters men’s soccer team from 1961-62, and the WAC Bennett Award went to former BC Lions president Ron Jones. According to its nomination qualifications, the WAC Bennett Award is given to “unique legitimate individuals who may not qualify for induction under the criteria of other categories”.

The incentives will be formally honored at a gala event on June 9, 2022 with details announced.

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