Tie Domi is widely acknowledged as one of the toughest guys ever in the NHL. When talking about legendary enforcers, you can’t name Tie Domi, and he was a great person as well.
Everyone who played with him agrees that there’s probably never been a better or more loyal teammate than Domi, and he always showed huge respect to those around him and his coaches.
When Domi himself talks about great coaches, he often mentions Pat Burns. Burns was the coach that brought Domi to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he meant a lot to him.
Pat Burns’s all-time favorite player was Chris Chelios. Burns had previously coached Chelios in Montreal, and when Domi and Chelios got into a fight, Domi had that in mind.
Chelios was in a lot of NHL fights, but he wasn’t the best fighter in the league. He could wrestle okay, but handing out huge blows during fights wasn’t his greatest ability. But it certainly was Tie Domi’s.
”It was in Chicago. We have a little five-on-five brawl. He coached Chris Chelios in Montreal, and that was Pat Burns’ favorite player at all times,” Domi said on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast.
”We have a five-on-five, and Chelly’s the only one that’s not on someone. Everyone else is lying, you know, paired up with someone. So it’s me and Chelly.
“So I grabbed Chelly, and I was like, ’I got to caulk back.’ And Chelios is just looking at me.
Tie Domi describes how Chelios just stood right before him with the biggest grin on his face.
”I go, ’Chelly, what are you doing?’ He said, ’I don’t know!’ So I just kind of let him go. I let him go, and then after the period, Pat Burns goes, ’You had him at the tip of your fingers! What did you do? You let him off the hook!’ I didn’t say anything in front of the whole team.”
”So anyways, we fly back to Toronto, and trainers say, ’Pat wants you in his office.’ So I walk in there, he stands up, and I thoughts he’s gonna blast me. And he says, ’Come here.’ I walk over, and he hugs me and says, ’I love you, man! I’m so sorry about that. You showed him respect. That was very respectful of you, and I love him. That was very, very nice. I’m very sorry for snapping.’
”So that was the kind of bond that we had.”