Gino Ojik died at the age of 52, his sister announced on Sunday.
Ojik was a fan favorite in the NHL, playing 605 games in 12 seasons, including eight seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and four seasons between the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens.
“Our hearts are broken,” wrote Dina Ojik on Facebook. “My brother, Gino Ojik, has left us to the world of spirits.”
Ojik grew up on the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation Reserve near Maniwaki, Que. In 2015, he was awarded the Indspire Award, the highest honor given to an individual by Canada’s Indigenous community, for his playing career and all his contributions to Indigenous communities. He was also inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.
The Vancouver Canucks drafted Ojik in the 5th round of the 1990 NHL Draft, 86th overall. The team confirmed Ojik’s death and said the Aquilini family is mourning his tragic death.
“Gino has been a fan favorite since he joined the organization, putting his heart and soul into every shift on and off the ice,” Canucks president and governor Francois Aquilini said in a statement. “Personally, he was a close friend and confidant, someone I could rely on for advice and support. He will be deeply missed.”
More to come.