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NNSL Photo/Graphic

Mayor Lorne Kusugak congratulates Jordin Tootoo at the unveiling of the new Welcome to Rankin Inlet sign, as fellow Nashville Predators forward Scottie Upshall tries on his new Rankin Inlet hat. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Sign of the times

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (July 05/04) - Hundreds of people braved the wind and rain to help celebrate Rankin Inlet's number one son this past week.

The crowd was on hand to see Mayor Lorne Kusugak unveil a new sign welcoming visitors to Rankin Inlet, the gateway to the Kivalliq.

The giant sign at the mouth of the airport entrance features a portrait of local hockey hero Jordin Tootoo, adorned in his Team Canada jersey.

Kusugak said words hardly seem enough to describe what Tootoo has done for Rankin Inlet.

"Jordin has helped put Rankin Inlet, and all of Nunavut, on the map with his outstanding efforts," said Kusugak.

"And, I'm not just talking about his hockey skills, but also his positive attitude and the way he portrays his home community to the entire world."

Tootoo was accompanied to Rankin by Nashville Predators teammate Scottie Upshall, who took in the unveiling before enjoying a little Kivalliq hospitality.

Upshall had the opportunity to do a little square dancing while in Rankin, and also got to travel out on the land for a little fishing.

"It was really great to see all the support Jordin receives in his home town," said Upshall. "I was just blown away by the hospitality here and how friendly all the people I met were to me."

Honoured by gesture

Tootoo, as always, spent a good deal of time before and after the unveiling posing for pictures and signing autographs.

He said having the sign unveiled was a very special day for him and his family.

"What can I say, you know? It's a real honour to have something like this done for you," said Tootoo at the unveiling.

"Every time I come home and see this sign it will send a shiver down my spine, that's for sure."