After an emotional and painful year away from the sport of hockey, Dominic Moore is ready to re-start his professional career in the same place where it all began a decade ago: in New York with the Rangers.
"There's no doubt that coming back to New York was definitely was what I wanted to happen, it was my first choice," Moore explained on a conference call Wednesday. "For a variety of reasons I have always been draw back there, and I am grateful that it has come to fruition."
With his professed love of Madison Square Garden, the Rangers organization, and The Garden Faithful, it is not a major surprise that Moore agreed to a free agent deal with the Blueshirts---the team which made him a third round selection in the 2000 NHL Draft out of Harvard University---this past Friday. What is perhaps more surprising is that a still-grieving Moore decided to play hockey at all again following the tragic passing of his wife Katie earlier in the year due to a rare form of liver cancer.
The 32 year-old Moore, who was a fan favorite at MSG during his rookie year of 2005-06 before being traded away, completed the 2011-12 season with the San Jose Sharks and then began caring for the just-diagnosed Katie on a daily basis. He had no intention of playing hockey during her illness, and the NHL lockout last fall and winter removed that possibility anyway. Katie passed away in early January, but Moore did not feel the timing was right to play just yet when the lockout ended shortly thereafter---though the Rangers did reach out to him to gauge his interest in playing at that time.
"The timing of everything just didn't work out, everything had just come to a head unfortunately back in January," explained Moore. "It was a very difficult decision to not play, but at the same time it was definitely the right decision. I needed those following months to regroup and clear my head. If anyone has ever cared for someone with cancer, it's a battle that the whole family is in. After you have been through that you need some time to regroup."
When asked how he coped with his wife's devastating illness, Moore replied, "That question could take a lifetime to answer". But he added that he was "grateful for the time we had" and that the time spent together during her illness was "some of the most special months we had together."
Now Moore is trying to come out on the other side and resume his NHL career in the place where it all started, and he couldn't be any happier about returning to New York.
"I couldn't be more excited, obviously I have great memories over the years of playing at Madison Square Garden and it's always been one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, places to play," said Moore. "The atmosphere, there's just something special about MSG that everyone feels. I can't wait to be back, especially to put that Rangers jersey back on. It'll be a great feeling."
And you just know that it will be an emotional one, too, when the Rangers fans welcome back Dominic Moore at Madison Square Garden next October.
Jim Cerny-July 11, 2013