Jordin Tootoo’s Red Wings lost to Columbus last night 3-2. If you’re a Blue Jackets fan, you’re probably giddy about that, but you’re probably even more excited that the CBJ started their rally with a power play goal following a Tootoo penalty.
There was an element of justice to it, after all. Derek Dorsett was paired off for a fight with Jonathan Ericsson when Tootoo jumped into the breach. He landed an overhand punch and possibly broke the nose of the surprised Dorsett. RJ Umberger converted on the subsequent man-advantage.
So if you’re hoping that Tootoo is still smarting from last night’s loss, that’s more than understandable.
But know that Tootoo is spending today thinking about a more signficant loss.
More than a decade ago, Jordin’s brother Terence committed suicide. He was 22 years old, a horrible irony for Tootoo, who wears number 22 and was born on 2/2 (February 2nd of 1983).
So today, Tootoo is signing autographs, with a guarantee for the first 222 fans in line who make a $22 monetary donation that he will ink the personal item of their choice.
The proceeds are going to the charity Tootoo has established in his brother’s memory.
Yes, Tootoo has all the charm of a crazed mosquito on the ice. Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards knows that from his days in Milwaukee. “I coached Jordin for a few years and I know what he does and what he can do – get underneath your skin,” Richards told MLive.com. “If you allow him to, he’ll force you to take a penalty,” Richards said.
However, this is also a man the Nashville Predators chose to honor when Tootoo made his first return visit against his former team. This is a man who has battled the demons of alcholism. This is a man who has been asked to represent, not just himself and his team, but his Inuit people. And this is a man who called police when he realized his brother was missing, then read a note left by Terence exhorting him to, “Take care of the family.”
Today, Jordin is helping to take care of a sort of extended hockey family, thus proving when it comes to the Red Wings aggitator, there are indeed two sides to the story.
Note: In addition to linking to Tootoo’s charity above, I’d like to remind you that if you’re struggling, there are always operators standing by at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Their number is 800-273-TALK.