Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jordin Tootoo

A little taste of the NHL was in town tonight as Nashville Predator Jordin Tootoo was here to sign autographs. The school gym was abuzz with anticipation to meet the first ever Inuk to play in the NHL. Tootoo is originally from Rankin Inlet in the Kivalliq and is in the midst of a mini-tour of a few Baffin communities. Things kicked off a bit later than planned due to flight delays but once he arrived there were draws for hats, t-shirts and sweaters followed, of course, by an autograph session. Tootoo also delivered a strong message about the importance of finishing school. Being an Inuk, he has grown up in the reality that many kids here face so this message I'm sure would have much more meaning coming from him than a middle-class Qallunaaq like myself.

It's not often that a celebrity makes it this far north so it was a rare treat to see him in person after catching a few of his games over the regular season. I'm not really a Nashville fan but it was good to see them have a good season and we all look forward to when Tootoo can bring the Stanley Cup up to Nunavut.

I saw this as a good opportunity to get an autograph for my nephew (future NHL goalie). Eager kids stood in line to get shirts, hats and even a crutch signed by Jordin. I wanted something more than just a piece of paper for him to sign and I thought about getting my sweater signed until I remembered the large Nunavut flag I had hanging in my classroom. So up into the school I raced to retrieve it. I strategically placed myself at the back of the long line for autographs under the theory that no one would take my spot and I wouldn't get run over by the throngs of youngsters. So here is the result of my patience - a close up shot of his signature on my flag.

I hope to put up a few more pictures of some of the welcome banners the students made shortly.


Anonymous said...

All I can say is WOW!


towniebastard said...

Did he bring his new girlfriend, the rocket scientist, with him?


c'est moi said...

He's a great role model. From what I recall, he can really relate to the hardships these kids have witnessed having lost family to suicide himself. I can't remember the particulars but I think it was his brother. It is great that he gives back to the community in the off season too. It's my understanding that Cheechoo does the same with the Cree in Northern Ontario. I saw Chris Simon doing a similar thing in Northern Ontario a few years back. It's really great.

Way Way Up said...

Ida - It was great to see him, if only for a few minutes. I know he is an excellent spokesman for Inuit.

Townie - I couldn't get the link to work but I've heard a few rumours. At least Belinda didn't show up.

C'est Moi - I recall seeing a news story on Cheechoo after he won the scoring title last season. It really is remarkable to consider the challenges he has had to overcome growing up in such a small isolated place.