Jordin Tootoo

Jordin Tootoo shoots and he scores. And at the young age of 19, Jordin Tootoo also inspires. Last spring, this bright hockey player, who hails from Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, became the first Inuk, and first person ever from his territory, to be drafted into the famed National Hockey League. He was snapped up by the Nashville Predators in the annual draft. If that wasn’t enough, he was the first Inuk to be drafted into the Western Hockey League and was chosen captain for Team Canada Under 18 at a tournament in Europe. After this accomplishment, the Hockey Hall of Fame requested, and received, Mr. Tootoo’s jersey where it now hangs in the house of Hull, Orr, Richard and Gretsky in Toronto. Mr. Tootoo first took to the ice at the age of two-and-a-half at home in the Eastern Arctic. From those first awkward strides, a strong, confident and highly skilled hockey player emerged. By his early teens, his career path was set. “I lived for hockey,” Mr. Tootoo once said when asked to describe himself growing up. Those who doubted his skills, or questioned his size, were soon taught to respect the kid from Nunavut. Mr. Tootoo was once voted hardest body-checker in his league’s conference. A proud Inuk, Mr. Tootoo says the Inuit “can teach people how they live simply and share their knowledge of the land.” Thanks to him, and the example he has set, the Inuit also have a thing or two to teach the world about hockey. Just ask Mr. Tootoo’s opponents. They’ll tell you.