Skip to main content

Unknown Canadians: Eric O'Dell

There was never any questioning Eric O'Dell's heart in terms of his love of hockey.

But there once was questions pertaining to the actual health of his heart.

O'Dell is a versatile forward who can play any role you want him to. That's what helped make him a second round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2008. He never got to play for the Ducks as he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets) in a trade deadline deal less than a year later.

Shortly after doctors discovered he had a small hole in his heart that was never detected before. The hole, which doctors believed O'Dell was born with, required surgery and six months off.

O'Dell made a full recovery and no one questioned his heart again. But the procedure did delay O'Dell's development a touch.

O'Dell played four seasons with the Jets farm team in Newfoundland. He also got into 41 NHL games with the Jets spanned over two seasons, but never found a permanent home in the NHL.

By 2016 O'Dell headed to Europe to play professional hockey.

"I think each player knows, depending on the situation you're in with your organization, you know when the time is right to go to Europe," he said. "For me, it looked like I was destined for the AHL again. I have a family [wife and daughter] I have to think about. You want to play hockey, but at the same time you have to think about money and the situation was good over here."

O'Dell has been playing with HC Sochi of the KHL ever since. Playing in the former Olympic city has kept the 2018 Olympics goal firmly in focus.

"This has given all of us such a unique opportunity, and we're all going to work very hard to make the most of it," he said.

Unlike many of the players on Team Canada, the 27-year-old is not discounting the possibility of the bigger picture brightening with a strong Olympic tournament.

"Now I have to think about playing well over here and getting another shot [in the NHL]."


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M