Senators' Chris DiDomenico finally reaches NHL after long journey

Tigers Chris DiDomenico feiert den NLB Meister 2014/15 nach dem siebten Spiel im Playoff Final der NLB zwischen den SCL Tigers und dem EHC Olten, am Dienstag, 31. Maerz 2015, in der Ilfishalle Langnau. (KEYSTONE/Marcel Bieri)
Tigers Chris DiDomenico feiert den NLB Meister 2014/15 nach dem siebten Spiel im Playoff Final der NLB zwischen den SCL Tigers und dem EHC Olten, am Dienstag, 31. Maerz 2015, in der Ilfishalle Langnau. (KEYSTONE/Marcel Bieri)

Chris DiDomenico’s hockey career has taken him to many places. He’s found himself in Saint John, Drummondville, Rockford, Toledo, Asiago and Langnau im Emmental while playing in the QMJHL, AHL, ECHL, as well as the Italian and Swiss leagues.

The one stop that he had yet to make, however, was the NHL. That will all change Thursday night.

When the Ottawa Senators visit the Arizona Coyotes, the 28-year-old DiDomenico will make his NHL debut nearly 10 years after the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted him in the sixth round.

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Eight years ago, however, DiDomenico’s NHL dreams were nearly shattered. During the QMJHL playoffs in 2009, he broke his femur while trying to prevent an icing and spent the next few months in a wheelchair.

Eight years later, DiDomenico will finally fulfill those dreams with a familiar face behind him, Senators head coach Guy Boucher, who was the man in charge in Drummondville when that career-threatening injury happened.

“When you get a player, it’s not his stats,” Boucher said this week via the Ottawa Sun. “You get an individual, you get a human being, and it’s the whole package that comes with a person.

“Of course, if you know players, you know what they can give you and you can make a projection. (After DiDomenico’s injury) he would have been working in the American League, but he didn’t have his legs. He needed years to build his body back up. So he had to go to Europe and slowly make his way up the ranks again. He was dominating down there. I had him at the Spengler and he was one of our top players. Comparing him to other guys who were NHLers the year before, you can make a projection that there’s definitely something there we can look at.”

DiDomenico was playing with the SCL Tigers of the Swiss League this season until abruptly leaving the team in the middle of a relegation battle to sign a two-year deal with the Senators last month.

“I’ve been there for three-and-a-half years. We were in the B-league, we went up with them. It was a tough decision, but every kid dreams to play at the highest league. They understood that,” he said last week. “Some people were mad and sad. It was tough for me, too, to leave them in a position like that, but I believe in them there. They really only need one or two wins to stay in the A-league and that’s the goal. Here I am trying to take this opportunity here, so it all worked out.”

Who knows how long DiDomenico’s time in the NHL will last, but he’s getting the chance, which is all he’s ever wanted.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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