The Ivan Hlinka U18 Tournament ended Sunday the same way it has each of the last five seasons, with Canada’s Under-18 squad as champion. The team was led by former NHL tough guy and current Kingston Frontenacs bench boss, Todd Gill. The team also included Max Domi, the super-skilled son of legendary pugilist Tie Domi.
If an incident at a Team Canada practice at the Hlinka is any indication, Tie’s enforcing days are anything but behind him.
Canada and Sweden were preliminary-round opponents at the Hlinka and, with very little video on Team Canada prior to their game, a Swedish coach decided to go and film Canada’s practice. It’s not necessarily illegal, maybe a bit unethical, but actually fairly commonplace at these international tournaments.
After Gill quite literally fired a warning shot at the clandestine camera operator, shooting a puck from ice level that missed the camera by a few rows, the guy wasn’t getting the hint.
Enter Tie Domi, he of the 3,515 penalty minutes in the NHL.
I’ll let the Google Translation from Swedish media outlet Aftenbladet take it from here:
The most bizarre of the entire story takes place when Andersson gets uppläxad and chided by Canada.
A man in the stands sneaks up to Sweden’s camcorder, screws of the tripod and the camera takes. A pure theft.
And the thief is the former NHL fighter Tie Domi, who has a son (Max Domi) of the Canadian team.
When I got back to the camera, I took nothing. I looked around and there were only two people in the stands. I approached the duo and asked if they had seen my camera. Then Domi gave back camera, but without the battery. Incredibly, says Andersson.
Lucky for all of humanity, the camera, with the tape inside was rolling as this is taking place. If you ever wondered what it was like to be in a confrontation with one of the ultimate tough guys, here’s a shaky, dizzying glimpse.
Now there might be better ways to have handled the situation, but thankfully this little bit of international hockey whimsy was preserved.
To be fair to the Swedish camera operator, it is a fairly common practice for the European teams to video tape their opponents’ practices. Having been to a bunch of these international events, some are a little more upfront about it than others.
I’ve had the uncomfortable duty of telling an opposing coach to turn off his video camera back in my USA Hockey days. Most coaches are fine with an opposing team’s coach watching practice. In these short tournaments, there has to be some allowance for information gathering to prepare for the games. The North American coaches in my experience don’t take too kindly to using video.
The competitiveness among countries at international tournaments has intensified in recent years, and Sweden’s success at the international level has only heightened rivalries with the U.S., Canada and Russia. Situations like this are bound to pop up, but they won’t always include one of the most infamous enforcers in NHL history. What a beautiful game this is.
(Stick tap to Matias Strozyk for sharing the Aftenbladet story on Twitter. He’s a great international hockey follow by the way. Get to it.)