By Craig Hagerman
Tie Domi was back at it, dropping the gloves Thursday night – the virtual gloves, that is.
The former Toronto Maple Leaf and fan favourite was on hand at Toronto’s Eaton Centre for the grand opening of the new Microsoft Store where lucky patrons in line had the chance to face the former winger in NHL 15 for the Xbox One.
For Domi, the appearance was a chance to do something that he rarely gets the opportunity to do, while promoting the great work that Microsoft does for the city of Toronto, the city he played nine seasons for and still calls home.
“It’s quite the honour to be asked to open a store in the Eaton Centre, an iconic building in Toronto,” said Domi. “What they [Microsoft] do for non-profit charities around local communities, especially in Toronto, it’s like a million dollars to a lot of non-profits. I know the Science Centre is one of them. It’s a very big honour.”
Microsoft Canada announced donations of $875,000 to the Ontario Science Centre, $35,000 to the Ladies Learning Code, $60,000 to Youth Employment Services, and $30,000 to the Peer Project during Thursday’s grand opening.
Charity work is nothing new for the 45-year-old. Domi has always been one to do work for charity work when he can, including taking part in the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge, in which he successfully challenged Rob Ford, among others.
The Windsor, Ont. native is also excited about his latest project. Domi is set to release a memoir in 2015 through Simon & Schuster Canada, a memoir he believes will show a side of him beyond just the fisticuffs.
“People kind of know the headlines of my career, so it’s more about life after my career,” said Domi. “People ask me why I chose to do a book like that, it’s because I had the most fights in history and I didn’t want to talk about that.
“The book is about old school guys and people you deal with everyday. I had the most fights sticking up for my teammates, so I’m sticking up for the everyday person now.”
The memoir has a release date set for the fall of next year.
Though the former second round pick in 1988 has been retired from the NHL for eight seasons now, it seems as though the Domi name may once again become a familiar sound in the hockey world thanks to the incredible play of his son Max.
Max was chosen with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Phoenix Coyotes and is currently lighting up the Ontario Hockey League. In 19 games this season with the London Knights, the 18-year-old has amassed nine goals and 40 points, trailing only Erie Otters stars Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome for tops in the league.
“I get a little choked up about my son,” said Domi. “He’s just doing what he’s doing and he’s figuring it out and it’s pretty cool to watch.”
Canadians will likely get the chance to watch a lot of Max when he plays for Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championships, which kick off next month. Though the final roster has yet to be announced TSN’s Director of Scouting, Craig Button, believes Domi’s son is the early favourite to play the left side on Canada’s top-line next to McDavid and Sabres’ prospect Sam Reinhart.
In his 18-year-career, Domi set the record for the most career fights with 338, a record he still holds and looks to be hard-pressed to beat. Despite his fighting persona he would like to be remembered for more than what he did with his fists.
“As much as people know me for having the most fights in NHL history, I’d rather be known as playing the second most playoff games in history after George Armstrong for right wingers,” said Domi.“I’ll take that stat to my grave any day.”
Domi sarcastically remarked that he would let everyone beat him in NHL 15 Thursday. If only his opponents on the ice had been given the same courtesy.