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Monday, 28 September 2015

TBC: Shift Work

With school back in, I decided to hit the books again. Literally. I have a pile of excellent titles that I'm really excited for, and I'm going to start those reviews right here and now. Teebz's Book Club returns with a fantastic book as I am proud to review Shift Work, written by Tie Domi and published by Simon & Schuster. Shift Work is an autobiographical look at the life of Tahir "Tie" Domi and his work on and off the ice in the NHL. If there is one group of players who have incredible books it would be the enforcers or tough guys of the NHL from days gone by, and Shift Work is no different in being an enjoyable, humourous look at Tie Domi's days in hockey, his family life, his childhood, and everything in between!

From the Simon & Schuster website, "Tie Domi was raised in Belle River, Ontario. Over his sixteen-year NHL career, he played for the New York Rangers, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he was and still is a beloved fan favourite. With 333 career NHL fights, Domi has the most fights in NHL history. Now a consultant, Domi is also active in many charitable foundations. He is the proud father of Carlin, Max, and Avery. Domi splits his time between Toronto and New York City, where he spends time with his girlfriend, Heather."

Shift Work takes us right back to the beginning of the Domi story with his father, John, who was born in Albania. His father survived World War II and, despite being an anti-communist, escaped the Soviet Union-controlled Albanian communist government. It was in escaping that John met a young Kosovo woman named Meyrem in 1954 who would soon be his wife. After bouncing around Europe in trying to find a place to settle, John emigrated to Canada, landing in Winnipeg. However, he would soon move to Toronto and make enough money to have Meyrem join him. It was in southern Ontario that the story of Tie Domi starts.

Tie was born on November 1, 1969, and he was born into a family that was close with his parents, brother Dash, and sister Trish. His father set the example that Tie always followed - hard-working, friendly, and accepting of everyone - that would be the trademarks of Tie's interactions with everyone he met in his life. These three traits are repeated often in Shift Work, and there are many examples where you can see these traits shine through in his collected memories.

Tie goes over his biggest moments in his hockey career as well. He talks about his fight against Detroit's Bob Probert while with the Rangers, bring traded to the Winnipeg Jets and looking out for Teemu Selanne, his eventual trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs and looking out for Mats Sundin, playing for legends like Roger Neilson, Pat Burns, and Pat Quinn, and meeting his idols in Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux, and Jean Beliveau. Needless to say, Tie had a memorable sixteen-year run in the NHL that included some definite highs and some lows, but I'm pretty certain that he enjoyed every second of it as seen in his writing.

The one low that really resonated with me was his talk about Wade Belak. Wade and Tie played together until Tie retired, and the enforcer spoke at lengths about how Belak really just wanted to be included in whatever was going on. He spoke of how Belak's demeanour would change on nights where there was an enforcer waiting for him on the other bench, and how wound up Belak would be in anticipating that. Belak, as Domi wrote, never wanted to fight. It's an interesting look into the psyche of Belak from Domi's point of view and, ultimately, an unfortunate one as Domi recounts hearing the news of Belak's passing.

Make no mistake that I was very interested to read what Domi had to say about his time with the Winnipeg Jets in Shift Work. From his reaction of being traded to the Jets to arriving and discovering the locker room environment, it was a very unique look into the Jets of the 1990s. Because I have an advanced copy of this book where changes may still occur before the final publishing, I can't deliver any quotations on this section of the book. I can assure you, however, that Tie Domi is a unique player who understood his role on the team both on the ice and in the dressing room of every team he played for including Winnipeg.

Shift Work is a fascinating look into Tie Domi's life, and I have to say that I enjoyed reading this book. Domi's life may not have been perfect, but he's the epitome of never giving up and always putting in hard work. As Vince Lombardi once said, "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary", and Tie Domi is living proof of that statement. His writing contains some excellent lessons and because of this, Shift Work absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Shift Work is due in book stores in November, and I highly recommend this book for all hockey fans. If you're doing a little Christmas shopping in November and you have a hockey fan on your list of those you're buying for, Shift Work would be a perfect gift to receive!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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