The Next Chapter

Randy Boyagoda on NHL enforcer Tie Domi's new memoir

Our columnist Randy Boyagoda reviews the former NHL enforcer's memoir.
The Next Chapter columnist Randy Boyagoda says Tie Domi is unapologetic in his memoir about the role fighting had in his hockey success. (Simon & Schuster Canada/Hazlitt)
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Tie Domi played 16 seasons in the NHL, where he was a high-profile enforcer who dropped his gloves hundreds of times. His job was to protect other players, and he did it well, despite being smaller and lighter than the typical NHL enforcer. Domi has released a memoir, Shift Work, and our literary enforcer, Randy Boyagoda, joined The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers in the Toronto studio to talk about the book.

AN ALBANIAN LIVING THE CANADIAN DREAM

Tie Domi's parents were immigrants from Albania who came to Canada after World War II. They raised Tie and his sister in and around the Windsor area. From an early age, Domi really marked himself out for his drive. By the time he was in high school he was drawn to any number of sports, but coaches were taking notice of his skills on the ice, and that began a trajectory that lead to the OHL and eventually the NHL. It is very much a "Canadian dream" story, and he doesn't play that up but he is definitely telling a very classic immigrant story, with the old world mother, the big meals, the friends, the fighting, the father encouraging him to work hard. ​

AN ENFORCER TALKS ABOUT VIOLENCE IN THE NHL

Probably the most surprising element of the book is how straightforwardly unapologetic Domi is about the significance of fighting to his success as a hockey player. I really was struck by it. I kept waiting for the turn, where he would say "Listen to me, kids, I know this is how I got there but don't do this anymore." Every now and then he makes these references to how in the modern age, people don't fight as much. But he leaves it uneditorialized — he doesn't say much more than that. 

Randy Boyagoda's comments have been edited and condensed.