Growing up a Steve Yzerman fan, playing for his idol and wearing his No. 19 has been a dream for Lightning center Dominic Moore. (Photo by Getty Images)
In 2007, the Red Wings made sure that nobody would wear a red-and-white jersey with the No. 19 affixed to it ever again when they raised the numerals high above the ice surface at Joe Louis Arena.
Steve Yzerman, the last to wear the number in a Wings’ uniform, is the reason so many budding hockey stars – from mini-mites to frozen pond rockets all across Michigan – still select No. 19 for their sweaters.
Now there were a lot of terrific hall of famers in the history of sports who did the No. 19 proud, from Baltimore quarterback Johnny Unitas to Cleveland fireballer Bob Feller, and even Colorado captain Joe Sakic. And today, there are 16 NHL players that wear the number, including Boston’s Tyler Seguin, Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and San Jose’s Joe Thornton.
Players pick numbers for different reasons and who knows if the above mentioned wear 19 out of respect, or not, for the Wings’ legend, but for Dominic Moore wearing 19 in Tampa carries a whole different meaning and responsibility.
“My two idols were Doug Gilmour, a local guy, a Toronto Maple Leaf, and Stevie Yzerman,” Moore said, “because my mom would always say, ‘Look at that Steve Yzerman, isn’t he such a class act?’ She wanted for us to look up to people like him as a role model. And obviously he was an incredible two-way player and I looked up to that.”
Moore, who grew-up north of Toronto in Thornhill, Ontario, was one of the first free agent-signings by Yzerman when he took over as Tampa Bay's vice president and general manager in 2010.
The Lightning is Moore’s eighth NHL team in eight seasons. But playing for an Yzerman-led team and wearing the number that he made so famous during a 22-season Hall of Fame career has been a real treat.
“Everyone knows what type of guy he is and the reputation he has,” said Moore, who played collegiately at Harvard with his brothers, Mark and Steve. “He’s first class all the way and his track record speaks for itself.
“I like the number, but it’s one of those things that you want to carry yourself the best that you can and be yourself and play your game and nothing else.”