Хроника Хоккея


The legend of Team Canada's Tootoo
28.12.2002. Willes, Ed. The Gazette

 Forward is first Inuk drafted into NHL. He's a train of a body- checker who started in league hockey at 14, he exudes charisma and he designs sportswear and sells jerky

Forget, for a moment, that he seems to have stepped out of the pages of The Iliad, because even if his name was Jordin Morrison and he was from Rouyn-Noranda, his story would be near-mythic in scope and proportion.

Kelly McCrimmon, his general manager with the Brandon, Man., Wheat Kings, says he's the fastest skater, the hardest hitter and owns the hardest shot in the Western Hockey League. Scott Bonner, the Vancouver Giants' GM, said pound-for-pound, "he's the toughest kid to play in the WHL in the last 10 years. There are guys who are legitimately afraid of him because he blows people up when he hits them."

One hockey man, who requested anonymity, said, at worst, he'll be a third-liner in the NHL who can energize a team with his enormous on-ice presence and, at best, he's "a young Wendel Clark." Throw in an irresistible personality and an unimpeachable work ethic and there's a reason 19-year-old Jordin Tootoo is already one of the most closely scrutinized players at this year's World Junior Hockey Championship.

And there are more reasons.

"You look at his story, and I don't think we've ever seen a player like that in our league," McCrimmon said. "He's a remarkable kid."

Tootoo, who played a lead role in Team Canada's tournament- opening 8-2 win over Sweden on Boxing Day, was born in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, raised on a diet that included raw seal and caribou, didn't play organized hockey until he was 14 and, two years ago, became the first Inuk to be drafted by an NHL team when the Nashville Predators selected him in the fourth round.

Throughout his upbringing, his older brother Terence was also a source of support and inspiration and preceded Jordin to the professional ranks, in the East Coast League.

In late August, the Tootoo brothers shared dinner in Brandon and, doubtless, a few laughs as they prepared for the upcoming season. Later that night, Terence was pulled over by the RCMP and charged with impaired driving. His body was found the next morning. Beside it lay a shotgun and a suicide note that read: "Jor. Go all the way. Take care of the family. You're the man, Ter."

"My brother was a great guy and my best friend," Jordin said at an earlier Team Canada press conference. "I miss him a great deal. I'm happy to have hockey as an outlet to deal with it."

"It's hard to describe him as more determined, but he'd probably say yes," McCrimmon said when asked if Jordin has drawn motivation from his brother's death. "He's carrying it for both of them."

But if he's weighed down by the burden, it doesn't show.

Tootoo, who was the second-leading scorer in the WHL when the Team Canada junior selection camp began, was the team's personal Energizer bunny in its evisceration of the Swedes on Boxing Day. While he didn't appear in the scoring summary, his controlled but violent hitting game set the tone for the match and had the 10,000- plus fans at the Halifax Metro Centre chanting "Tootoo, Tootoo" whenever he devastated an unfortunate Scandinavian.

"He hits with a purpose and it brings a lot of emotion to the team and the crowd," said Team Canada coach Marc Habscheid. "It's a nice dimension to have."

Tootoo - who at 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds is built like a floor safe - said he began developing his game in the Far North playing against his older brother and his friends. It isn't the only thing he brought out of the Arctic.

At 14, he left Nunavut for Spruce Grove, Alta., and his first experience with organized hockey. That summer Brandon selected him with a third-round pick in the bantam draft. In short order, he became the team's best player and, according to McCrimmon, the most popular figure in franchise history.

"We've never had a more popular player," the Wheat Kings GM said. "He has unbelievable charisma and he's a tremendous ambassador for our team."

Tootoo, who's aware his personality and his background are marketable commodities, has started Team Tootoo, a retail outlet in Brandon that comes complete with its own Web site. Among other things, Team Tootoo sells sportswear designed by Jordin. It's also cornered the lucrative caribou-jerky trade in western Manitoba.

"Don't ask me what it's like. I can't stand it," McCrimmon reported.

"It's the best jerky out there," Tootoo countered.

"Don't knock it until you've tried it. And you can get it on www.teamtootoo.com. You've got to check it out." 

Первая страничка молодежных чемпионатов мира 2003 года
Подгруппа А - подробнее
Россия, Швейцари, США, Словакия, Белоруссия
Подгруппа В - подробнее
Канада, Финляндия, Чехия, Швеция, Германия
За 7-10 места - подробнее
Швейцария, Швеция, Германия, Белоруссия
1/4 финала - подробнее
США - Чехия
Финляндия - Словакия
1/2 финала - подробнее
Россия - Финляндия
Канада - США
Финал - подробнее
За 5 место. Словакия - Чехия
За 3 место. США - Финляндия
За 1 место. Канада - Россия
Страничка статистики

Молодежные чемпионаты мира (до 20 лет) 2003 года.