Algonquin artist Jay Odjick says it's the first time that he's created something so personal — a design for a Vancouver Canucks jersey that would pay tribute to a family member — a project with his entire heart behind it.
Jay's cousin, Gino Odjick, a former Canucks enforcer, died Jan. 15 at age 52.
"He was a fighter, but not in the way that people think," said Jay.
Gino's battle with amyloidosis, a rare disease that affected his heart, displayed his fighting spirit, Jay said. Gino's generosity with his time and strength off the ice is also part of what went into the design.
The jersey is based on the classic '90's red, black, yellow and white Canucks design that Gino wore during his eight-year tenure with the team, that included a Stanley Cup loss in Game 7 of the final against the New York Rangers.
"We were all kind of Canucks fans during that '94 cup run," said Jay.
"Those black, red, yellow and white colours were the colours that Gino wore, so I wanted to use those instead of the more modern blue and green that the team wears [now]."
In Jay's design, the flying skate of the logo is replaced with a Thunderbird, a symbol in many Indigenous cultures of strength, power and protection.
A medicine wheel shoulder patch displays Gino's number 29 and eight feathers represent each of Gino's seasons with the team. The numbers on the back of each jersey contain an Anishinabe design acknowledging Gino's heritage from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec.
Proceeds from sales of merchandise with Jay Odjick's design will go to Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations youth programs.
The Canucks will be wearing the jerseys during warm-up on March 2 at the team's annual First Nations Celebration night.