October 9, 2003
Nashville’s season-opening 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in 2003 featured an interesting story that captured international attention. Nashville rookie Jordin Tootoo
became the first player of Inuit descent to appear in a National Hockey League game.
The popular agitator, raised in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, played 13:34 and recorded one shot on goal. His every move was watched not only by the 16,684 in attendance, but by an international media contingent. For his acheivement, Tootoo earned a spot among The Globe & Mail’s list of the “Top 25 Sports Figures” in Canada in 2003.
Each time the 5-9, 194-pounder took a shift, the crowd was sent into a frenzy. Tootoo’s cousin Victor ran up and down the aisles of section 116 waving the Nunavut flag.
“It was everything I hoped for and a lot more,” Tootoo said following the game. “I am just trying to pave the way for the young kids out there trying to set goals, and hopefully one day kids can say, ‘if he can do it, I can do it.’”