Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Who's Your Daddy? The Domis by @ChicksDigHockey and @ryannoble66



This is the third post in a "Who's your Daddy" series looking at OHL players with fathers who played in the NHL. We're exploring the similarities and differences in hockey fathers and sons. Does the apple ever fall far from the tree?

Tie Domi was both feared and revered during his NHL career. Did you know Tie is actually short for Tahir? I know, I know…..you thought it was short for “bad-ass”. His parents are Albanians who fled Communist Albania for Canada following World War II. Being tough is in his genes.

Photo: Dave Sandford
Tahir “Tie” Domi grew his brand of Hockey Bad-assery in Ontario in the OHL and later with the Leafs, Rangers and Jets. This is the point where we would usually tout a noteworthy player’s scoring accomplishments but in 1020 career regular season games, Domi only managed 245 points. While his stick may have whispered, his fists made a resounding rumble. Over a sixteen-year NHL career, he has more penalty minutes than any other player in the history of the Maple Leafs and ranks third overall in penalty minutes in NHL history: a whopping 3515 minutes.

Tie Domi left his mark on the NHL through his toughness. His skill was protecting players like Mark Messier, Mats Sundin and Teemu Selanne. He was an enforcer. Coaches didn’t put him on the ice in the final 2 minuets when the game was tied and the goalie pulled. They put him on the ice when someone was making life hard for one of their stars. Domi never had a problem dropping the gloves.

Max Domi is playing a different brand of hockey in a different time. 5-foot-9, 193-pound  Domi was selected by the Kingston Frontenacs with the eighth pick of the 2011 Ontario Hockey League draft, but was subsequently traded for three second-round draft picks to the London Knights. In his OHL debut, Domi scored a hat trick and recorded an assist to lead the Knights in an 8–0 victory. 

photo: Dave Sandford
Even more impressive is that the younger Domi is a Type 1 Diabetic. The rigorous demands of hockey are brutal to the body of a diabetic. He wears an insulin pump to regulate his blood insulin levels but checks his blood during games to make sure he isn’t dropping too low and eats between periods to ensure he has fuel to play. Max wears No. 16 as a tribute to former Philadelphia Flyers captain Bobby Clarke, who played with Type 1 diabetes during his 15 seasons in the League.

Max crafted his game in the OHL with the London Knights under the tutelage of the Hunter Brothers. He was a late cut for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship team, but made the team in 2015. He led Canada to the gold medal and was named most valuable player with five goals and 10 points in seven games.  There are those close to the Knights who say it wasn’t always easy to have young Domi on their team. Not because Max was a handful but because his father was always trying to micro manage his son and his role on the team. Tie, it seems, was blinded by his own genetic legacy and objected to any decision that didn’t allow his son to be featured even when others were playing better.

That Tie Domi lasted 17 years in the NHL is testament to his own hard work, skating ability and willingness to brawl. He was not an offensive juggernaut. Max displays that unabashed approach to hockey but London Knights Coach Dale Hunter has compared him to Sidney Crosby.
"He has extensive offensive skills and his skating ability is -- and I hate to say it -- [Sidney] Crosby-esque," London coach Dale Hunter said. "You never want to compare [a player] to someone like that, but he has a very strong lower torso, so his center of gravity is amazing." (Domi has trained with Crosby in the off season)

What did we learn from this father and son comparison? Like the Hawerchuks, both father and son Domi have definite skill but unlike young Ben Hawerchuk, Max’s career has already eclipsed his father’s. Unlike BrendanLemieux, who may be following too close in his father’s footsteps, Max Domi seems to have found a way to harness his father’s toughness while cultivating the scoring prowess to create his own legacy. 

Max was selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, 12th overall, of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He remained in the OHL to mature and refine his game. As a result, he’s having an outstanding rookie season (He has 15 points in 17 games at this writing) Meanwhile, Tie is touring Canada promoting his book, Shift Work.

Both also have success in television commercials.
Max commercial.
Tie commercial.

Did you miss a 'Who' your Daddy?" post? If so, here are the ones you missed.
The Hawerchuks.
The Lemieuxs.

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