Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic January 04, 2011 - 4:26 pm

Hockey star Jordin Tootoo enters rehab clinic

“It was a shock, but a joyous shock”

CHRIS WINDEYER
When Jordin Tootoo of Rankin Inlet first broke into the National Hockey League with the Nashville Predators, hockey fans from Nunavut to Nashville embraced him. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TENNESSEAN)
When Jordin Tootoo of Rankin Inlet first broke into the National Hockey League with the Nashville Predators, hockey fans from Nunavut to Nashville embraced him. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TENNESSEAN)

Jordin Tootoo has left the Nashville Predators and checked into an undisclosed rehab clinic in Los Angeles for alcohol abuse.

The veteran right-winger left the team over the holidays, the Predators announced in a news release Dec. 27.

Tootoo’s mother, Rose, said she didn’t know her son was in rehab until a friend told her. Jordin called her from Los Angeles soon after.

“It was a shock, but a joyous shock,” Rose said. “We were happy that finally he saw the light and decided he’ll do something about it.”

According to the NHL, Tootoo will continue to draw a pay check and benefits and won’t face any punishment from the league as long as he stays enrolled in the program.

“We’re just grateful he did what he did on his own,” his mother said.

She said Jordin had good billet families during his days in junior hockey in Brandon, MB, but the pressures and chances to party that are common in elite hockey eventually caught up with him.

“When he hit the NHL it was ‘Oh wow,’” she said.

For their part, the Predators had little to say in a tersely-worded news release announcing Tootoo’s entrance into rehab.

“We offer Jordin the full support of his teammates, coaches and the organization,” said David Poile, the team’s General Manager, in the news release. “There is no timetable for his return and we will have no further comment at this time.”

Nashville trailed Colorado by one point for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference Jan. 3. 

Predators captain Shea Weber told the Tennessean newspaper Tootoo will be hard to replace in the team’s lineup.

“Guys coming in here need to do a good job and fill the hole that he’s leaving,” Weber said. “He’s a good guy, the guys around here like him and that’s why this is tough right now.”

Before he entered rehab, Tootoo was on pace for a career season, with four goals and six assists in 32 games. He was also the Predators’ leader in penalty minutes with 47.

His best season was 2007-08, when he scored 11 goals and seven assists, and notched 100 penalty minutes in 63 regular season games.

In February, 2010, Tootoo signed a two-year contract extension with Nashville, worth US$2.5 million.

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