Retired NHL tough guy Tie Domi never had the softest hands – just ask his opponents’ faces. He could throw a mean punch, and occasionally score an ugly goal. Who knew he could also write?
He recently sat down to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Reddit’s /r/hockey. Of course, when it comes to a guy with 3,515 career PIMs, we had to ask about officiating.
You spent a lot of time in the box and dealing with officials. Favorite refs?
“Favourite linesman, Ray Scapinello! Favourite Ref, Paul Devorski. I respected them all, and got to know them well.”
For what it’s worth, in his book Between the Lines, Scapniello calls Domi ‘the toughest fighter, pound for pound’ in the NHL.
Some of the other highlights:
Best chirp you’ve ever given?
“Told one guy that if he didn’t leave my teammate alone that he’d be eating his Christmas dinner through a straw. Ended up a breaking his jaw. Which I felt sorry for.”
Did you know that Stevens was in the penalty box when you decided to elbow Niedermayer in the face in 2001?
“I wish he was on the ice. He ran his whole career from me. He was a guy who picked on the small guys and tried to get them with their head down. He would be suspended for most of his hits in today’s NHL.”
Here’s the play in question:
From Domi’s book:
“I apologized to my teammates for what happened. They knew I felt horrible about it. They tried to make me feel better by saying things like, ‘Hey, stuff happens in hockey.’ But Niedermayer’s injury didn’t just happen; I had caused it, and by doing so, I had gone against every value I had promised I would hold myself to.’’
Favorite team growing up?
“Before I played in the NHL, would be the Philadelphia Flyers. Big Bobby Clarke guy. Knocked out my two front teeth on my bike as a kid just to look like him!”
Domi suited up for three teams in his 1,020-game NHL career: the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and the New York Rangers.
Of all the people you fought, who got the best hit on you?
“Dave Brown. Bob Probert as well.”
What’s your best memory of [former Buffalo Sabres pugilist] Rob Ray?
“A lot of respect for him. One of my biggest rivals. One of the best memories I had with him was when he had all his equipment off, just bare skin and I threw his jersey back on him.”
What’s the most memorable moment you have of the NHL?
“My teammates and the relationships that you build with them. There are moments you cherish. Here I am 10 years later, with great friendships (Sundin, McCabe, Joseph, Roberts, etc.)”
Do you think the Toronto media can be too harsh on players?
“If anybody knows it and lived it, it was me. Personally and professionally. But at the end of the day they do have a job to do and professional athletes are paid a lot of money to deal with that kind of stuff. Part of the job for anyone in the spotlight.”
“Pat Burns gave me the best advice, “They’re not your friends.” But I treated them all with respect, as they do all have a job to do. The ones who get personal, or who aren’t well wishers, or who are jealous…they’re easy to figure out and I just get them with my smile and my kindness.”
“Everybody knows there’s no gray with me, just black and white.”