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Traveling like a boss
Tootoo enjoys annual fathers' road trip with Blackhawks

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Barney Tootoo of Rankin Inlet - the father of Rankin's own NHLer Jordin Tootoo of the Chicago Blackhawks - found everything the Hawks did for an annual father's road trip with the players to be first class all the way earlier this month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Barney Tootoo of Rankin Inlet enjoys a light meal with his son, Jordin, right, while taking part in a special road trip for the fathers of the players on the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Rose Tootoo

Barney got to accompany Jordin and his fellow Blackhawks to games in Colorado against the Avalanche and in Boston against the Bruins during the trip.

Barney had been on previous 'dad's trips' with Jordin when he was a member of the Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings.

He said while he enjoyed his trips with every team, the Blackhawks took the experience to a whole new level.

"The best way I can say it is that Chicago did everything first class all the way," said Barney.

"On the trip we, pretty much, followed the exact same schedule as the players and it's always a lot of fun.

"We spent two days in both Denver and Boston, which was really nice because we usually fly out of a city on the night of a game on these trips.

"A typical day sees us get up with the players early for breakfast, then it's off to the morning skate and back for a meal before the fathers do their own thing while the players take their afternoon nap, and then it's off to the game where the fathers all watch from a suite or luxury box."

Barney said while it's easy to see who's who in terms of the stars on the team, the Hawks are a tightly-knit group and all the players are just normal, everyday guys.

He said the fathers got along well on the trip and everyone just concentrated on spending time with their son and having as much fun on the trip as they could.

"The Hawks bring a lot of their staff and families along on the trip, so the charter flights were packed full and it took three buses to move us all around in the cities.

"The Hawks looked after everyone very well and I was like, holy smokes, because everything was done first class, including everything being free in our suites at the games, and I just couldn't get over how well we were all being treated.

"You can get spoiled pretty quick living like that."

Barney said the games were awesome and some of the tours were a lot of fun, but the time spent with Jordin and the other players and their dads was the best part of the trip.

He said the Hawks players, and their fathers, were very, very accommodating with everyone throughout the entire trip.

"Jonathan Toews' dad (Bryan) and Brent Seabrook's dad (Gary) and I somehow got together right away on the trip, and we just seemed to hang out together quite often during the rest of the way, and they're both real, real good guys.

"Going to Fenway Park for the first time was really something because it's an amazing building that's pretty much a museum to baseball that's still being used.

"There's a real sense of baseball nostalgia when you walk in the place, and seeing the Green Monster (left-field wall in Fenway) was really, really something.

"Nobody talked much hockey on the trip because it was really about family time and just enjoying the whole experience."

Barney said it was different for him to see Jordin in a real veteran role with the Hawks.

He said the Blackhawks get along very well together as a group, and absolutely nobody comes across as being better than anyone else on the team.

"Jordin is one of the older guys on the team now, and he seems to get along very well with all the guys.

"It seems like the younger guys on the team look up to him quite a bit, and that's all so different for me to see.

"It's wasn't long ago Jordin was the listener on his teams, and now he's one of the preachers."

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