Dominic Moore is one of three nominees for the National Hockey League’s Masterton Trophy, which is given to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
But Moore, 33, who leads the New York Rangers’ offensively modest, yet restlessly energetic fourth (read: bottom) unit, has a story much deeper — and certainly much darker — than each of his co-candidates’. This season, Moore has personified the healing power that even a violent sport like hockey can have on someone who has suffered so profoundly from personal tragedy and loss.
Even before being drafted by the Rangers in 2000, Moore had everything going for him. He attended Harvard University, where he suited up for the Crimson alongside his two older brothers before becoming captain of the team. At the same time, he met his future wife, Katie, a soccer star at Harvard. The couple married in 2010 and established their home in Boston, but Katie stayed by her husband’s side as he moved from the Rangers to eight other NHL teams in his first 12 seasons.
In April 2012, as Dominic began a playoff run with the San Jose Sharks, Katie received terrible news. She was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, which prompted Dominic to leave hockey in order to care for his wife.
Katie Moore died only a few months later in January 2013. She was 32.
Dominic didn’t play all of last year, and as a free agent, if he decided to return to the sport, there was a definite possibility of landing in a new locker room. After setting up a foundation in Katie’s honor, Dominic chose to put his skates back on when he signed a one-year deal last July, returning to the team that first drafted him, the Rangers.
“Life as a professional athlete is almost necessarily selfish,” Moore told The Globe and Mail. “It takes so much focus to compete at that level. And that plays into the role the wives play,” he says. “She knew I was pursuing my childhood dream.”
ESPN’s E60: “Coming Home” – a great piece on Moore and his story.