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Profile: Jordin Tootoo

More about some of the people from the 8th Fire TV series.

NHL Player:

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Jordin Tootoo was born in 1983 in Churchill Manitoba and grew up in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. A highly talented athlete, Tootoo excelled in hockey from a young age and was a member of the silver medal team representing Canada in the World Juniors in 2003. He received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award's Youth Award in the previous year. By the age of 19, Tootoo had become the first Inuk to be drafted and play in the National Hockey League. He currently plays for the NHL's Nashville Predators.

Tootoo's father is an Inuk and his mother is of Ukranian descent. His personal story has been featured in publications such as Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and USA Today. Alongside his success, however, Jordin has faced many difficulties and challenges. Terence Tootoo (Jordin's older brother and closest friend) was also a talented hockey player, yet took his own life in 2002. Jordin dedicated his first NHL hockey season to Terence, playing the entire year with his brother's name stenciled on his hockey sticks.

In December 2010, Tootoo voluntarily entered the NHL/NHLPA's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program to receive treatment for alcohol problems, and successfully completed the program and returned to finish the season and play in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. Throughout the media and the sports community, Jordan was highly praised for his brave decision as it was seen as a way of offering an excellent example to others, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who faced similar challenges.

Despite the intense demands of being a professional athlete, Jordin volunteers his personal time toward many charity events. In 2011 he established the 'Team Tootoo Fund' which supports non-profit organizations that specifically help children and teens in need and address issues such as suicide awareness and prevention. Tootoo has risen to be a truly popular and inspiring role model for many Aboriginal young people, and ultimately has created a positive impact for Aboriginal sports across Canada. His parents, Barney and Rose, are supportive of their son and his career, and Jordin remains very closely connected to his home community, dividing his summers between Rankin Inlet and Winnipeg.