“I feel that it’s my calling to share my story with our indigenous communities. To help our kids, the future of our people.”
That’s how Jordin Tootoo describes his people, the Inuit of Canada’s North—but it’s also how he’s lived his own life. The first Inuk to play in the NHL, Jordin enjoyed a 15 year career in the sport, mostly with the Nashville Predators.
But it was not a road without difficulty. Jordin lost his older brother to suicide, and fought a battle of his own with substance abuse. The struggles shaped the man he became, and set the course for his life after hockey. They’re why he wrote his best-selling memoir, All The Way: My Life On Ice, and founded Team Tootoo to help at-risk Indigenous youth.
And while he travels the world sharing his journey, the land where his ancestors lived for centuries, following caribou and bird migrations is a deep source of grounding for Jordin. It’s how he connects to his culture, his family—and recharges so he can help others do the same.
It took a lot of years to stand up in front of our people and tell my story, because a lot of us grow up to suppress our feelings and not talk about what’s going on. Now I have nothing to hide. You can’t fix yourself until you’re open to confront your demons.