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Dominic Zamprogna Weighs In On His Favorite Sports Teams

Roots For: 
The Toronto Maple Leafs, The Toronto Blue Jays and The Toronto Raptors

How did these become your teams? “I’m a huge Toronto sports scene fan just because of proximity to it where I grew up, which is like 50 minutes from Toronto. I feel like you don’t have a choice in the matter — you kind of grow up rooting for these hometown teams because it’s such a contagious energy. Hockey is so huge in Canada, but I’m like the least-Canadian Canadian because I never actually played hockey. I played street hockey in, like, church parking lots my whole childhood but I never skated because my parents didn’t really dig the hockey scene of [taking their kids to practice] at 5 a.m. on a Saturday. So, funny enough, I’m a fan of the thing I can’t play. I play soccer, but I’m not a huge fan of watching it; I get more joy out of playing than I do watching, whereas hockey, I get more joy out of watching it because I sucked at it [laughs].”

Did you get to games as a kid? “Oh, yeah, all the time. My uncle was a huge Jays fan and he knew I was a Leafs [fan], so he would take me to Leafs games. He was in the steel business, he was a salesman, so he’d get tickets for clients and he’d take me every once in a while. Every kid, growing up, would go to Leafs games — that was the first thing you asked for, a Leafs sweater and tickets to a game. And my sister and I had season tickets to the Raptors, which was a lot of fun.”

Did you find it harder to keep up with your teams after you moved out of Canada? “Not at all! Every professional league has a way to watch games, so I subscribe to the NHL package, the NBA package, MLB. I literally watch everything. I used to watch more, but when you have kids, you get some pretty dirty looks when you watch sports as much as I do; you kind of have to pick and choose. But now that my kids are a little bit older, I’m trying to get them into it. I put on the games and invite them to watch with me, with varying degrees of success so far.”

I’ll never forget coming up to you at a Daytime Emmys and finding that you were watching a game on your phone. Do you remember what the situation was? “Yeah, it was a Raptors playoff game! Game 7 in 2016 and they won. I was nominated [for Outstanding Supporting Actor] but that game was a big deal and, you know, you gotta keep up on your sports! That’s what so great about it. It’s in real time. I’m not a guy who can record games and then go back and watch it later. I hate doing that. I need to watch it as it’s happening or I just need to get the highlights, because I can’t tape it and then not talk to people or not look at my phone for three hours so no one ruins it for me.”

Are there people you can talk about your teams with at GH? “Oh, yeah. [Jason] Thompson [ex-Patrick; Billy, Y&R] and I would talk hockey all the time; we still do, whenever we talk. Wil deVry [ex-Julian] is a huge Habs [the Montreal Canadiens] fan and they have a huge rivalry with Toronto. Maurice [Benard, Sonny] talks sports, but only if it’s the [San Francisco] 49ers and I’m not a huge NFL guy. I do a fantasy league with Ronnie Marmo [ex-Ronnie] but I don’t actually sit down and watch a lot of football games unless it’s the [Buffalo] Bills in the playoffs or something like that.”

What kinds of Leafs gear do you own? “Oh, I’ve got lots of stuff. I’ve got hats, I’ve got sweaters, I’ve got jerseys, I’ve got T-shirts, I’ve got beanies — it’s so much stuff, it’s kind of ridiculous. Kirsten Storms [Maxie] finds these vintage clothing items and she found me this awesome Leafs sweatshirt from the ’80s from a company called Chalk Line who used to make all of these hockey things back in the day. That’s one of my latest [acquisitions], but every Christmas, my kids just get me a Leafs thing. I have tons of beanies.”

What has been your proudest moment as a Leafs fan? “The problem with the Leafs is that they haven’t won in my lifetime. I think, at this point, it’s the longest drought between championships in all of sports! When I was a kid, the Leafs were owned by a guy named Harold Ballard who kind of didn’t care what the product on the ice was, and because they sold out every game, it didn’t matter. In the ’90s, that changed; they brought in new 
management and made some trades and got these big hockey names at the time and it looked like they were going to the final but they lost to the [L.A.] Kings in ’93, I think it was. That was the closest I had ever been to, like, super-happy with the Leafs. Ever since then, it’s close but nothing, you know? Every season, it’s like, ‘Next year!’ And that’s what we’re saying again this year: ‘Maybe next year is the year!’ It’s a long, involved, complicated relationship and when that day [of victory] happens, there will be lots and lots of tears, I guarantee it. The Raptors won the NBA championship in 2019 and that felt great because I’d never actually seen one of my teams win anything! Well, I did see the Jays win the World Series back-to-back in ’92 and ’93, but I was too young to really understand how special it was. The older you get, the more you understand how rare it is that teams get to win, so that Raptors win was much more special, and if the Jays were to win again, it would be very special because I know how long it’s been since they won the last time — over 30 years now.”

What is it that you love so much about watching these teams play? “You know, there aren’t many things in this world that are in the moment. Watching sports, you’re watching real-time, fast, split-second decision-making that results in these beautiful freaking goals. I have so much appreciation for these people’s abilities and talent, and watching them, you’re just thrown completely into the moment.”