Canadian hockey player Jordin Tootoo made a young fan’s day, possibly his whole year as well, when he gave his hockey stick to him. The video of the 31-year-old Grand Rapids Griffins forward giving away his stick during pregame warm-ups to a young boy has gone viral, making Tootoo a hero in everyone’s eyes.
Tootoo dropped his tough guy reputation for a moment when he greeted a waiting fan after a game on April 18.
The boy, identified by ESPN as five-year-old Camden Smith, was waiting by the tunnel to greet the player. It was apparent that he only wanted a high five from his idol, but he got so much more than that.
“Tootoo!” Smith called as his grandpa helped him perch on a stand.
“What’s up, buddy?” Tootoo asked the kid before handing him the hockey stick that he had just used on the ice.
“It’s all yours,” he said.
The already smiling Smith burst with glee at the unexpected gift. His laughter was so infectious that people who have watched the 15-second clip on YouTube, over 1.6 million of them, couldn’t help but smile with him.
“The final smile on that boy’s face brought tears to my eyes,” one YouTube commenter wrote. “Way to go Jordin. Class act right there, no doubt.”
Another one added, “Jordin Tootoo, a world class athlete. The kid’s face was priceless, mainly because Jordin is one of the nicer players.”
One commenter, meanwhile, changed his opinion on Tootoo upon seeing the video.
“I always hated Jordin, this changes my pov,” the commenter wrote, perhaps referring to Tootoo’s difficult reputation on ice.
Tootoo, the first Inuk player and the first to grow up in Nunavut territory in Canada to participate in the National Hockey League game, has faced multiple NHL disciplinary actions in the past, including game suspensions without pay. He has been accused of playing “dirty” on some occasions, as well as punching his opponents during heated games.