This past weekend Team Tootoo finally made its presence known in the Detroit area.
Not much talk anymore about impact the lockout had on the communities; but one angle that was not touched on often were charity events. Annually the Detroit Red Wings have the Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringing competitions with players and staff trying to raise money. This year the Alumni took over; but it just didn’t have the same appeal as in the years past.
Charitable work and humanitarian contributions are highly regarded within the hockey world to the point that the National Hockey League established the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1988.
The trophy is awarded annually to the player that best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the community.
Everyone has their own causes. I have been a volunteer with the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) since 2009. I am even running my first half marathon this coming October to hopefully bring some awareness and donations to this wonderful non-profit that brings the game we all love to those with developmental disabilities.
One of the newest Red Wings, Jordin Tootoo, has his own way of doing things off the ice.
Tootoo created the Team Tootoo Fund to collect money either by donation, selling items, and even money collected at signing events (like the one coming up this Saturday from 4p.m. – 6p.m. at the Gibraltar Trade Center).
The Team Tootoo Fund collects the money and then writes grants out to suicide prevention and at-risk you charities in need; so when I was asked if I could help out at two events this past weekend I was glad to do so.
Last Friday I left work and drove down I-75 to Troy where Tootoo was signing autographs and taking pictures with fans for a donation of $22 to Team Tootoo. There were 222 wristbands handed out so you can go ahead and do the math on that one. Plus a few customers that stopped in unknowing of the event taking place donated to the cause.
Saturday Tootoo’s former team the Nashville Predators were in town so it was a great opportunity to set up a booth at the game for Team Tootoo.
Heather and I sold items that included Team Tootoo wrist bands, hats, autographed items and even a pair of jerseys to fans at the game.
Met a lot of great people over the weekend, including Jordin himself.
Fan reaction at the game was varied. Many fans are embracing Detroit’s latest tough guy; and some not so much. One couple even showed up to the game with their own t-shirt’s they had screen printed to say “Team Tootoo” on them. Predators fans came up (even it if was only “up” as they came North to Detroit via Windsor on their trip from Toronto – don’t ask me why they were not Leafs fans but at least they were not the group that had that soul shattering Tootoo whistle with them).
Working on the concourse during the game I saw none of the 4-0 blowout of the Predators; but I wouldn’t have changed that for anything. The experience was great, the opportunity to maybe even convert some fans that were still on the fence about Tootoo to seeing part of the off-ice side of him and becoming fans was great; but the best part was knowing that even if the money raised only helps one youth it was well worth it.
If you are interested in donating to Team Tootoo you can do that on the website.
Autographed Tootoo pucks can be purchased here for $22
Autographed Tootoo Jersesys can be purchased here for $222
Other items for sale include:
Team Tootoo hats $15
Autographed Team Tootoo hats $22
Wristbands $5 or 3 for $10
Darren Helm has also donated autographed pucks and jerseys
that are for sale at the same price as the Tootoo items.
You can order these pieces by contacting TeamTootooFund@gmail.com
Be sure to follow @TeamTootooFund on Twitter and on Facebook.
Stay tuned to Off-Ice Instigating and DetroitHockey.net for Team Tootoo events and news.