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Team Tootoo seeks to raise awareness

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Right Wing - DET
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3

SOG: 18 | +/-: 2
DETROIT – Though more then 10 years has passed since his brother’s suicide, the topic is just too sensitive for Jordin Tootoo to discuss publicly, telling reporters Thursday, “I’m not going to get into details.”

Two years ago, Tootoo’s silence was funneled toward his philanthropic priorities meant to draw attention to suicide awareness and prevention, especially among children and at-risk teenagers. Tootoo used the suicide death of his older brother, Terence, who was a rising hockey star in his own right, to establish the Team Tootoo Fund, which seeks to assist those non-profit foundations.

“I got it going a couple of years ago in Nashville,” said Tootoo, who registered his first goal in a Red Wings’ sweater on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena. “Part of our job is giving back. As professionals, you want to do all the right things for our community, for our fans. Obviously it was a no-brainer for me to keep it going here.”

Tootoo will sign autographs from 5-7 p.m. Friday at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, Mich., with the monies raised benefiting his charity.

The first 222 fans in line, who make a $22 donation, will receive a Tootoo autograph on a personal item of their choice. Hockeytown Authentics will distribute wristbands for the autograph signing starting at 3:30 p.m.

Team Tootoo baseball caps ($15 each) and Team Tootoo wristbands ($5 each) will also be available at the Troy store on Friday.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among individuals between 15-24 years old. Terence Tootoo was 22-year-old when he took his own life with a 12-gauge shotgun.

“Guys go through different things throughout their lives. For me, it touches close to my heart," Tootoo said. “You want to have every opportunity to have someone be aware of it. It’s something where you want to show people that it doesn’t matter who you are, a plumber or a school teacher, we all have issues that we face every day. It’s about having an open mind and not being afraid to speak up.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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