I forget the year exactly but it would have been in the early 90’s at a game in Winnipeg against the Jets. I was a resident of Winnipeg at the time but have always been a Leaf fan for as far back as I can remember.
Every time the Leafs were in town a group of about 8 of us would always get tickets, put on our Leafs jerseys and go to the game. On this particular night, as we sat right behind the Leafs net, front row, a skirmish breaks out as one of the Jets ( Steen, I think ) took a swat at our goalie as he gloved the puck. Of course, Tie took offence to this, pinned his man up against the boards, gave him a good glove massage and threw in a some commentary too colorfull to repeat. Well we went nuts and started to kick the end boards, yelling and screaming, etc. and Tie looked over at us as the skirmish broke up. The next period a similar skirmish takes place, again near our seats, so we proceed to pound on the glass, yell & scream, etc., and as Tie skates by he taps the glass with his stick in acknowledgment. Now we’re really fired up and the Jets fans are on our case big time. One of the security people comes over and gives us a warning – ” if you boys pound on the glass or kick the end boards once more you’ll have to leave “. Shortly after, the Leafs score and we all jump up from our seats and without thinking we pound the glass and kick the end boards again – all at once we realized our mistake and quickly sat down. The security guy came over and once again reiterated has warning to us – I think he realized our latest outburst was strictly in reaction to the Leaf goal – plus it was still in the second period, so it was nice that he didn’t have us leave. Early in the third period a tight game was broken open by the Jets as a result of some bad penalties taken by the Leafs. A two goal lead was stretched to 3 or 4 and the game was all but over. The Jets fans around us were giving it to us with every big hit and goal by the Jets and like the Leafs, our frustration was building. All of a sudden a scrum breaks out in front of the net, then another off to the side, and then a third pushing match starts up near us – you guessed it TIE. A fight ensues and the place is going wild. I remember looking over my shoulder at the security guard to see him glaring over at our group. We held it together – no glass pounding or kicking – then as the fights broke up Tie was escorted by the ref. around the back of the net right past us when one of my buddies yells out ” way to go Tie “. Tie pulls up right in front of us and swats the glass with his hand as the ref. guides him on his way to the box. WE HAD NO CHOICE!!! We pounded, kicked and chanted DOMI, DOMI as loud as we could – then simply started to walk out before security had to ask us to.
We still talk about that night and many of the games we went to ( including the last game at the Gardens ), there just seemed to be some sort of connection with Tie that night ( maybe it was the beer we drank?? ). He is the heart of that team.
Tie, congrats, our on your 1000th game – thanks for making hockey fun!
RS – Toronto, Ontario