The Tootoo Train will be coming back to Smashville.
Jordin Tootoo, one of the most popular players in Predators' history, announced his retirement last week via his Twitter account, bringing an end to a 723-game NHL career.
The first eight of those 13 seasons were spent in Nashville, where Tootoo amassed 46 goals, 125 points and 725 penalty minutes, with train whistles blowing every time the gritty winger climbed over the boards at Bridgestone Arena. Now that he's hung up his skates professionally, the first Inuk player to skate in the League is set to begin the next chapter of his life, and that includes a stop in Music City.
When the Preds host the Dallas Stars on Feb. 2, 2019 - Tootoo's birthday, no less - it will be declared Jordin Tootoo Night in Smashville, and he can't wait to get back to where it all began.
"To play in front of [Predators fans], it was an unbelievable experience," Tootoo told Preds broadcasters Chris Mason and Lyndsay Rowley during a recent pregame interview. "I pretty much grew up in Nashville, and playing the first eight years of my career, I battled through a lot of hardships coming in as a youngster who was grieving the loss of his older brother. Nashville just took me under their wing, and I was also facing alcoholism. [Preds General Manager] David Poile and [former Head Coach] Barry Trotz gave me the best gift I could've ever asked for.
"It's almost eight years now that I've been sober, and I just can't thank [Predators fans] enough for giving me the opportunity to play in front of you guys."
Tickets for the Feb. 2 game will go on sale during Nashville's annual Gold Friday sale the day after Thanksgiving, so stay tuned to NashvillePredators.com for more details leading up to Tootoo Night to see how you can be in attendance to thank Tootoo for his time spent in Smashville.
In the meantime, enjoy a look back at No. 22.