There have been many exciting moments in my career. First NHL game and first Stanley Cup Final amongst others. The game, or should I say the event associated with a game, which shall remain as my most memorable occurred on Thursday, Febuary 8, 2000.
The Toronto Maple Leafs visiting the Detroit Red Wings was not memorable for anything that happened in the game but for what the game and the day meant for Margaret Krumholtz and her family.
Margaret was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in October 2000 and was given between 2 to 6 months to live. Her husband, Gary took a leave of absence from his job at Shell oil, in Sarnia to care for his ailing wife, along with the needs of their two teenage daughters. They are big Maple Leafs fans and the girls were especially fond of Tie Domi. The Krumhotz family never misses watching Leafs games on TV.
I was asked by Margaret and Gary if I could arrange for Tie Domi to send the girls a photo to brighten their spirits during this family crisis. Through the generosity and compassion of Tie Domi, he agreed to meet with the family as a make-a-wish. Even with Margaret's health failing she joined her husband and girls at Joe Louis Arena to attend the Leafs morning skate.
While we waited for the Leafs to finish practice, Scotty Bowman invited the family to tour the Red Wings dressing room. Darren McCarty and Steve Yzerman spent several minutes with the family and took pictures.
It was then time for the Maple Leafs. Several players stopped by and visited with the family as Margaret sat in her wheel chair. It was a gift to be able to see their excitement as they talked to Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker and Pat Quinn. The highlight at this point was when Tie Domi walked up the dressing room toward them and graciously gave his time.
Following their visit, the family went for a pre-game lunch before retiring to their suite at the Marriott. After watching an exciting game, they returned to their suite to find that the hotel catering had brought in a surprise birthday cake to celebrate Erica's birthday. She turned 17 that day.
The fight for Margaret ended on May 21, 2001 at approximatly 3pm. While attending Margaret's funeral we were informed that Margaret told her family the day in Detroit was the most special day of her life.
Too often we, as participants of this great game, focus only on the competition. That day, the business of hockey was privileged to witness what the game meant to Margaret Krumholtz.
I will never forget that day and the happiness that they brought to this wonderful family.