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Dozens in B.C. rally to support terminally ill former Vancouver Canuck enforcer

Former Vancouver Canucks' enforcer Gino Odjick, left, autographs a jersey for a fan after greeting hundreds of people gathered to support him outside Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, on Sunday June 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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Former Vancouver Canucks' enforcer Gino Odjick, left, autographs a jersey for a fan after greeting hundreds of people gathered to support him outside Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, on Sunday June 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - A former Vancouver Canuck who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness received a heartfelt and vocal show of support by dozens of people on Sunday.

They held a rally for Gino Odjick (OH'-jihk) outside the Vancouver hospital where the former NHL enforcer is being treated.

Odjick has been diagnosed with a rare condition that interferes with the heart's ability to expand and contract and he said last week doctors told him he may only have weeks to live.

Many of those at the rally were from Canada's First Nations community and they say Odjick, who is aboriginal himself, gave them something to aspire to.

Stanley Jones says those from First Nations were looked down upon when he was growing up, but Odjick's success in the NHL gave him something to be proud of.

Priscilla Williams says she met Odjick when he once visited the reserve she lived on and was impressed by his down-to-earth personality.

During Sunday's rally, Odjick came to the hospital's entrance in a wheelchair to thank his fans, and was greeted by a roar of cheers.

Odjick, 43, played in the NHL from 1990 to 2002, including eight years in Vancouver and two in Montreal.

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