After taking the time to think long and hard about his future, Jordan Tootoo announced his retirement from the league after 13 seasons on Friday evening. In an emotional message posted on his Twitter account, Tootoo made it official.
"After 220 regular season games with the Wheat Kings and 723 games in the NHL I have decided to retire from the NHL to focus on giving back to the Indigenous community."
Tootoo, the first Inuk player in the history of the NHL, made history when he was selected by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round, 98th overall, of the 2001 NHL draft.
He played most of his career with the Predators but also wore the colours of the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks. He last played in the 2016-17 season, when he had two goals and an assist in 50 games with the Blackhawks.
IN 723 NHL regular-season games, Tootoo recorded 65 goals, 96 assists and 1,010 penalty minutes and tallied three goals, seven assists and 65 penalty minutes over 42 post-season contests.
The 35-year-old from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, announced his retirement in Brandon, Man., where he became a star with the Western Hockey League’s Wheat Kings.
"When I came to Brandon in 1999, I didn’t think of myself as an Indigenous role model, I was just a hockey player that would fight with everything I had to make the NHL," Tootoo said.
"This community embraced me and looked beyond my background and just judged me for how I played the game. And it’s pretty special and symbolic to come full circle and be back here to announce that I have retired from the NHL."
Tootoo scored 93 goals, 209 points and accumulated 874 minutes in penalties in 220 career games with the Wheat Kings. He ranked third on the club’s all time list for penalty minutes and is the 11th highest scoring right-winger in franchise history.
"I look back and I reflect on my hockey career and the opportunities it’s given me away from the game," Tootoo said. "Personally I didn’t think it would go this far but I am grateful for everything that’s put in front of me — it’s been a tremendous ride."
Photo Credit: Zuma Press