Hockey players are supposed to be the toughest and meanest athletes on the face of the planet, according to all of the Internet comments sections on anything ever written about hockey. But every now and then we get to witness a crack in the toothless armor of a supposed tough guy hockey player, and it reminds us that deep down, underneath those jerseys, pads and the brawler’s physique, there’s a heart of gold. The latest example comes to us from Grand Rapids Griffins (and Detroit Red Wings) forward Jordin Tootoo, who usually has the reputation of being a bit of a pugilist, but today he’s the Internet’s and hockey’s biggest sweetheart.
This video is a week old, as it was filmed after the Griffins’ final regular season game, but it blew the heck up yesterday once it started making the blog rounds. In it, Tootoo is greeted on the bench by one of the cutest hockey fans you’ll ever see, and because the way he shouts, “TOOTOOOOOO!” is just the most adorable thing since baby pandas sneezing, the brawler made his year by giving him a special present.