Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella is a pretty big deal. When the media noticed he was missing for a contest with rival the Nashville Predators, they didn’t take too much notice. After all, what is one game in a long and lengthy season that is the NHL. However, rumors began to swirl last weekend, when he also did not attend the premier event of the year, the 2017 NHL All-Star game held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, due to “personal reasons.”
Friends and the NHL community as a whole were concerned for Tortorella, a military dad whose son serves in the United States Armed Forces. Could the personal issue be some sort of tragedy having to do with his son? Thankfully, this wasn’t the case.
Tortorella finally spoke to the media yesterday and explained that his absence was as a result of one of his five dogs who became gravely ill. His family needed him home to help anchor them emotionally, and so it was a no-brainer for him to miss two games.
Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch:
“I appreciate so much the number of messages I have received since the announcement. But this absolutely is not an emergency. I want to clear that up. I needed a few days during the All-Star break – not having to go to the All-Star Game – to take care of something very important to my family and my son. His dog is sick, and he needed us to be there for him.”
Tortorella, a staunch animal rights activists who volunteers at his local ASPCA, is known for being an outspoken champion of animal rights. We wish him, and his family all the best, and ask that you keep his dog in your thoughts and in your hearts.