They came to Chris DiDomenico just a few hours after he and the rest of Team Canada had won the World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa.
He was still wearing his gold medal when a National Team assistant told him he had been traded from his junior team, the Saint John Sea Dogs to the Drummondville Voltigeurs. A news release made it official Tuesday morning.
DiDomenico was fielding cell phone calls in a vehicle being driven by his dad on the way home to Woodbridge, Tuesday. The reunion with his teammates in Saint John will never happen. With just a couple of hours sleep, and the gold medal still hanging over his heart, DiDomenico has come face to face with one of the realities of the hockey business.
“It’ll be tough to leave the guys in St. John but we might have a chance to win a Memorial Cup in Drummondville,” he said. “This could be the best thing for my career.”
Certainly, DiDomenico is heading to a powerhouse. The Vols are 31-6-0-3 and DiDomenico’s combination of tenacity and a decent scoring touch (he had 11 goals in 26 games for Saint John and two goals and five points in the World Junior) made him worth two players and first and second round draft choices.
Drafted in the sixth round in 2007 by the Leafs, DiDomenico was a walk-on in St. John who nonetheless potted 75 goals in 166 games with the expansion Sea Dogs.
Put on a line with John Tavares and Angelo Esposito early at the World Juniors, DiDomenico proved a perfect cornerman and complement to the two talented junior stars.
“Pat Quinn gave us the opportunity right from the beginning of training camp,” he said. “John and Angelo are great players and great people to play with.”
At 19, DiDomenico is eligible to return to the tournament next year in Saskatoon but has his eye on the pro game.
“I want to make the Marlies and play with them next year. “I have a lot of stuff I have to work on. I have to get stronger and work on my skating.”