About two years ago, my wife, 8 yr. old daughter at the time and 3 yr.old son, (Jack) attended the annual Leaf practice which the organization puts on for Leaf fans. Tie Domi has always been one of the favourites in this house and Jack was wearing his Leaf sweater at the practice, complete with number 28 and Domi on the back. We had arrived early enough to secure great seats along the rail by the penalty box. We were all excited when, during one of the drills, Tie was lined up right in front of us. We asked Jack, who was only about six inches away from Tie, separated by the glass, who that was. His face lit up and he yelled, “Tie Domi !!,”
At this point numerous fans were pounding on the glass, etc. trying to get Tie’s attention. Tie turned and looked directly at Jack and gave him a big smile. What happened next was the best part. Tie leaned down, picked up one of the practice pucks and tossed it over the glass for Jack. A nearby teenager, however, jumped up and intercepted the pass. That’s when we all experienced what I’m sure many opponents have in the past when they have crossed Tie. Immediately, those dark eyes flashed in the direction of the interloper and Tie stated, very intensely while pointing at Jack , “It’s for the lttle guy !”
The offending teenager immediately relinquished the puck to Jack and sat down looking a little shaken. He had just ticked off one of the most feared enforcers in the game and Tie had made his feelings clear.
What a thrill it was for our young son to receive this special gift from his favourite player. And the manner in which he received it has become a story which has been told and retold in our family. About a year after that, I had the opportunity to meet Tie at the Rigatoni for Research dinner in Oakville, of which my wife and I are supporters. I told Tie the puck story and he seemed to really enjoy it and thanked me for sharing it with him. He also gave me a nice personalized autograph for his biggest fan, Jack Murray.
MJM – Toronto, Ontario