(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Quebec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard, as official spokesperson for the AFN, offered the following statement on the news from former NHL player Gino Odjick that he is battling a terminal illness:
“Today, we join people across the country in expressing our deep sadness to learn of Gino Odjick’s health situation. We commend his bravery in being willing to share this news directly with his fans, friends and supporters. Many people know and admire Gino for his tremendous abilities and achievements as a world class athlete and well-known NHL player. First Nations know him as well for his work and commitment to First Nations, and the special efforts he made to reach out to First Nations youth, including youth who were dealing with their own personal struggles. He always made time to speak to our youth, to listen to them and to visit with them personally. Much of this work he did quietly because it was not for publicity – it was because he believes in our youth. Gino is himself a great example and inspiration to all youth and all First Nations. Hard work and perseverance is what enabled him to live his dream of playing in the NHL. First Nations followed his career closely and we are all proud of his accomplishments. Today, our thoughts and best wishes go to Gino and his friends and family. While we are tremendously sorry to hear of this news, anyone who knows Gino knows that on and off the ice he is brave, he has heart and he is a fighter. Our thoughts are with you, Gino!”
Gino Odjick is Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation in Quebec. He played 12 seasons in the NHL from 1990-91 to 2001-02 and is best known for his time playing with the Vancouver Canucks. He was diagnosied with a rare terminal disease called AL amyloidosis. Odjick posted news of his situation on the Vancouver Canucks’ website last Thursday. The statement can be read here.