On November 6th, two Australian visitors entered Rogers Arena to take in their first ever hockey game and walked away with a new favourite player – Chris Oddleifson.
The former Canuck captain set up shop in the 100 level concourse on Saturday to meet fans and sign autographs before the Canucks took on the Detroit Red Wings. Fans of all ages (and nationalities) lined up to meet Oddi and share fond memories of Canucks seasons past.
A former NHL cameraman recalled having to quickly maneuver his camera to keep up with Oddi as he scored a goal. Another fan who was coached by Oddi as a teenager brought his son along to meet the former Canuck. Both charismatic and modest, Oddleifson was quick to remind his young supporters that many of them had not yet been born when he played in a Canucks jersey.
The Vancouver Canucks entered into the NHL in 1970 and so too did Chris Oddleifson.
Oddi was drafted 10th overall by the California Golden Seals in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft. The Manitoba native made a pit stop with the Boston Bruins between 1971 and 1975 before being dealt to Vancouver in a trade for Bobby Schmautz. That same year, the Canucks made their first ever post-season playoff run.
Oddleifson was lauded as an all-around player with grit and playmaking ability. In the 1975-1976 season he recorded a career high 62 points. The following season he became the third captain in the franchise’s history. Oddi left the Canucks in 1981 and spent time playing in Switzerland before returning to settle with his family in Vancouver. He has been an active member of the Canucks Alumni and community for over 20 years.