The Canadiens didn’t pile up 100 years of history without the blood, sweat and tears of the over 750 players to have ever worn the uniform. From the likes of Donald Audette to Zarley Zalapski, there are former Habs scattered all over the world. Although many hardcore Canadiens fans can rattle off the career accomplishments of hundreds of their old heroes, the question remains: what are these guys up to today? On the hot seat today: Gino Odjick.
Where are you currently living?
I live in Vancouver full-time now, not far from the University of British Columbia. I’ve been here for about a decade or so.
What are you up to these days?
I’ve been the co-owner of a golf course here in Vancouver, the Musqueam Golf & Learning Academy, since 2003. I’ve also been heavily involved in creating a partnership between native communities in the region and the Aquilini family, who own the Vancouver Canucks.
How many times per year do you lace up the skates?
Once in a while. The coaching staff and management play for fun at Rogers Arena sometimes and I try to get out there with them once or twice a month.
Have you stayed in touch with any of your former teammates?
I talk to Donald Audette from time to time. I think we’ll be friends forever. Whenever I go to Montreal, I try to get together with him. I come back to Quebec at least four times a year.
Do you still follow the Canadiens?
For sure! I added RDS to my satellite package to keep up to date with what’s happening back in la Belle Province!
When was the last time you were at the Bell Centre for a game?
Good question. It must have been a long time ago because I can’t even remember!
Is there a particular game from your career with the Canadiens that stands out the most?
The game in 2002 when Saku Koivu came back after fighting cancer. The ovation he got from the fans at the Molson Centre that night was incredible. That was such a touching, emotional moment; I had goosebumps. We’re privileged to be paid to play hockey but when someone’s life is in danger like Saku or Donald Audette when he severely cut his arm, the passion and love you get from people in Quebec is unmatched. When Saku stepped on the ice that night, the fans just proved that.
What’s your favorite piece of Canadiens memorabilia you own?
The team photographer from back in the day gave me a few great photos that are hanging up at my parents’ place in Montreal.
You played for a few different teams during your career; how would you rank your time in Montreal?
My last season in Montreal was probably when I really became a complete player who could be used in any situation. That was actually also when I had my longest streak without getting a penalty! I proved to my teammates and to myself that I could keep cool and contribute on and off the ice. What I learned about Montreal is it’s a big city filled with great people who really know their hockey.
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