The use of Conflict in All The Way by Jordin Tootoo

In the novel All the Way by Jordin Tootoo, the book focuses on conflict and how it affected him on his journey to the NHL. The protagonist Jordin Tootoo experienced many tragic hardships throughout his life, on and off the ice. Whether it was his parent’s drinking problem or playing the game he loves and being called a dirty indian. The tragic death of his brother was also very hard for him and later contributed to his own alcohol addiction which majorly affected  his career, as well as him as a person. The main conflicts he faced were racism in the hockey community, his brother’s death, and his alcohol addiction.Throughout Tootoo’s career, he faced a lot of racism from other players in the hockey community. Some levels of hockey were worse than others, though it existed throughout the whole sport. For example when Tootoo was 13 years old he was chosen to play for a Native all-star and an opponent yelled, “Hey, Eskimo, go back and live in your igloo where you belong!”(Tootoo 36). At the time he did not understand what they had against him or why they thought that being Inuk was worse than any other race. The AHL was worse for Tootoo than the NHL as he had to deal with three separate racial incidents in four months which is more than he has had in his whole NHL career. Tootoo’s way of dealing with the racial slurs brought out his more physical and aggressive side to defend himself. This affected how people viewed him as a player because they thought that all he could do was fight but he could do so much more. After he had fought Tyler Wright, Tyler said that Tootoo bit his finger and continued, “Well, I guess that’s what Eskimos do-they eat raw meat, don’t they?”(Tootoo 36). The next game that they played against each other, Tootoo fought Tyler and won. Tyler could not backup the racist things he had said against Tootoo previously and lost the fight. Someone that helped Tootoo through this struggle was his brother Terence.The second major conflict that Tootoo faced was his brother, Terence’s, death. Tootoo had a hard time coping with this because he does not know why Terence commited suicide. He used hockey as an escape to try and come to terms with the situation. Terence never showed signs of anything that would drive him to do it, even in the hours before it happened. Nobody could truly understand why he did it; was it his childhood or his DUI? As Tootoo said, “We’ll never know the whole answer”(Tootoo 97). Tootoo started the Team Tootoo Fund to give back and help raise awareness about suicide and prevention, as well as helping youth at risk. This conflict affected him immensely because it was one of the factors that led him to drinking and eventually alcohol addiction. Tootoo’s alcohol addiction had a huge impact on his life and him as a hockey player. Growing up in Rankin Inlet, drinking was a given and his parents influenced him greatly throughout his years there. Throughout Tootoo’s career he partied and had some drinks, but there was a point in his life that binge drinking became a routine. This affected his hockey because he would stay out late with his friends when he had practice the next morning and he would not be able to perform well. He brought his anger to the rink with him and took it out on the ice on anybody. His teammates stopped going out and drinking with him because they knew it would not be just a couple drinks. Tootoo never did any drugs but alcohol took over and his coach ended up calling him in to talk. His coach threatened to put his name in the headlines that they would release him if he did not get it together. Tootoo brushed off what his coach said and by the 2010-2011 season he was out of control. His coach, Poile, heard that he had not cleaned up his act and told Tootoo, “If you don’t accept what we’re offering you, we’ve got to let you go. You’re damaging our team. You have to enter the NHLPA substance abuse program and go into rehab or we’re going to cut you, and everyone will know why”(Tootoo 149). At that point Tootoo went to a facility in Nashville to have an assessment and was shipped out to Los Angeles for rehab shortly after the incident. Everyone knew about his addiction but Tootoo pushed through and completed rehab and is still sober today.The novel All the Way by Jordin Tootoo, focuses on conflict and how it affected him on his journey to the NHL.  The protagonist Jordin Tootoo experienced many tragic hardships throughout his life, on and off the ice. Whether it was his parent’s drinking problem or playing the game he loves and being called a dirty indian. The tragic death of his brother was also very hard for him and later contributed to his own alcohol addiction which majorly affected  his career as well as him as a person. The three main conflicts he faced were racism in the hockey community, his brother’s death, and his alcohol addiction. Throughout all of these events, Jordin Tootoo learned many things about himself and it shaped him into the hardworking person he is today.