Tony Castillo is the security chief of the Tampa Bay Lightning and someone that John Tortorella visited everyday in the hospital during the summer of 2010 as he recovered from a massive heart attack.
According to Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, Tortorella was a big reason that Castillo recovered from the heart attack that was thought to cause brain damage.
Castillo said he remembers Tortorella ordering him to squeeze his hand “like a man. … He’d jump on the bed saying, ‘I’m going to kick your (rear end) if you don’t get well.’ He told me to fight. It meant the world to me.”
During Castillo’s six week recovery Tortorella sometimes visited twice a day.
Tortorella called Castillo “family” and said that even during the season, the two of them still talk multiple times per week.
On September 9th, John Tortorella will be holding a dog walk, along with Ryan Callahan, Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash and Brad Richards, to help end animal abuse.
In 2007, the St. Pete Times wrote that Tortorella was one of the figures in sports who is actually doing some good.
The Lightning coach and his wife, Christine, remind people that it is easy for some to just write checks, but they implore to do more than that. The Tortorellas ask others to get involved personally, in a more “hands-on” manner. He practices what he preaches, not only raising money for The Children’s Home and the Child Abuse Council with his fishing tournament, but also working with Christine, their children and The Lightning Foundation, taking the children on dolphin-watching tours, to local beaches and hosting them in the St. Pete Times Forum for street hockey games. Tortorella was awarded the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay 2005 Award of Excellence in recognition of his service as an outstanding community role model and for his charitable work with bay area children’s causes. John and Christine were also honored by The Children’s Home with the 2007 Helen Ayala Davis Award for outstanding community service.
More on Tortorella being awarded the Ronald McDonald “Award of Excellence.”
Jay Feaster told Bruce Arthur of the National Post that Tortorella is a guy who “melts around children” and “that he constantly engages in charity work that he has no interest in sharing with the public, or the media, unless forced to do so.”
Feaster said of Tortorella’s interactions with Liam on 24/7 “I said to him it has to kill you to know there are people out there who actually know you’re a nice guy. He laughed. But watch it – his face lit up.”
From the Rangers:
New York, August 15, 2012 –The New York Rangers announced today that tickets to John Tortorella’s first NYC Dog Walk are now available. The fundraising event, which will benefit the Westchester Shores Humane Society and other organizations dedicated to the humane treatment of animals, will take place on Sunday, September 9 at Riverside Park and will feature members of the New York Rangers team, coaching staff and select alumni for a one mile walk with fans and their dogs. The walk will culminate with an interactive session, featuring a Q & A with the Rangers Coach, dog adoptions, along with many other contests, games. To purchase tickets visit, http://newyorkrangers.com/rangersdogwalk .
All net proceeds from the event will be donated to the Westchester Humane Society and other organizations for the humane treatment of animals. The Westchester Humane Society is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of companion animals. WHS is committed to providing a safe environment for homeless pets and finding permanent homes. To achieve its mission, WHS assists families in choosing the right pet through education and screening, promotes spay/neuter to reduce pet overpopulation, and maintains a network of volunteers working in alliance with shelters, rescues, and humane societies. WHS supports the battle to end animal cruelty and embraces the No Kill philosophy seeking to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable companion animals.
During 24/7 this year, we were introduced to Liam Traynor, a ten year old boy with cerebral palsy, and how he has developed a relationship with Rangers coach John Tortorella.
Liam and Tortorella were brought together by the Garden of Dreams foundation and regularly text each each other.
The Daily News tells a story of how one time in the past couple of years Tortorella was angry with the team until he saw that he had a text from Liam that said he wanted to give him a “bro hug.”
Tortorella said of that moment,“And you know what? No lie. When I got that text, it just made me stop being as aggravated as I was with some of the things going on, and realize I needed it. I really did.”
Liam then said:
“I told him I wanted to send him a bro hug, and coach said his coachmates were laughing at it because it changed him. He got back in the groove and he encouraged the team to win. No offense to him, but he was kind of in a little — I shouldn’t say that — but in a special mood, and he has a special job keeping everybody satisfied.”
Tortorella called Liam everyday in May 2010 when Liam was recovering during hip surgery and throughout the offseason.
On Torts, Liam says “People think he has a really tough side. But on the other side of him, he has a really nice personality, he has good inside. He gives me insight on the team. He’s very caring when I’m hurt or sick. He always has my back. “He protects me and he’s a great friend.”