Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi has his sights set on playing in the NHL next season. The 2013 first-round pick stopped by Sportsnet Tuesday as part of a promotional tour with Bayer in support of type-1 diabetes awareness.
The 20-year-old talked summer fun, his hopes for the Toronto Blue Jays, and who he can’t wait to chirp in the NHL.
Sportsnet: What have you been doing with your summer when you’re not preparing for next season?
Domi: I’ve been training quite a bit and skating a little bit here and there. Away from hockey I’ve been spending time with family and friends, hanging out with people who are getting me ready for next year. I was lucky enough to partner with Bayer a couple of months ago, so I’ve been working on that the last little bit here, so it’s been a pretty good summer so far.
SN: How rewarding is it for you personally to be in a position where you’re a poster guy for young athletes affected by diabetes?
Domi: It’s special for sure and it’s a huge honour. To be able to have an impact on all these little kids’ lives is very special to me and it’s something that I take a lot of pride in. I was lucky enough to meet Bobby Clarke however many years ago and he had a big impact on me, on life in general and how I handle my diabetes. With how much I looked up to him I was like ‘I can do something with this.’ Bayer has given me this opportunity and we started out with a little goal in mind and it just went crazy at the World juniors.
SN: Will your diabetic alert dog, Orion, travel with you to Arizona?
Domi: He will. I just got Orion actually, so it’s pretty exciting. I love dogs and I’ve had dogs my whole life. He’s part of the toolbox I often refer to. It’s Orion, my insulin pump, and of course my glucose metre.
SN: You carried the torch ahead of the Pan Am Games at the Toronto Zoo. Did you take any time to visit some animals?
Domi: Oh yeah, I did! Rhinoceroses, polar bears, a sloth. I love animals so I had a lot of fun with that.
SN: What are you most proud of from your accomplished junior career?
Domi: It was the best four years of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The two championships in London were pretty special and definitely the world junior gold.
SN: Last season was a difficult one for the Coyotes but how excited are you to be a part of a team loaded with so many great young players?
Domi: They got a great core group of guys there with [Shane] Doan, [Mike] Smith, [Oliver Ekman-Larsson] OEL, and all these guys. There’s going to be a bunch of us young guys trying to crack the lineup, so it’s going to be fun and it should be pretty competitive.
SN: Are you curious to see how much damage you could do on a line with two guys you’re very familiar with in your world junior linemate Anthony Duclair and London Knights linemate Christian Dvorak?
Domi: Ha! I don’t want to get too far ahead here but they’re two great talents. There’s guys like [Dylan] Strome and the list goes on with the prospects we have and the guys who will be a big part of the organization moving forward. Hopefully we can all get together on the same team one day and bring the Cup to the desert.
SN: You’re a big Blue Jays fan, how do you feel about the team’s chances to make the post-season and take a run at the World Series?
Domi: I’m fired up. Fired up for sure. It’s crazy, and it’s great for the city. The city of Toronto has been absolutely bumpin’ this summer. To make those moves that they did was great. It’s pretty ballsy and it’s exciting from a fan’s perspective. Unfortunately I won’t be here to watch the post-season but I’ll be following online and on TV.
SN: NHL stars like P.K. Subban and Tyler Seguin have forayed into the world of modeling. Which of the following are we most likely to see Max Domi participate in at some point in your pro career: modeling, a music video, or a WWE pay-per-view match?
Domi: [Laughs.] Well, I definitely don’t look like a model so I can’t pull off the P.K. or Tyler Seguin look, that’s for sure. Music video? No chance. I can’t dance and I can’t sing. WWE? If I have someone like The Rock on my side then maybe I’ll dabble in that.
SN: Canadians grew accustom to your goal celebrations at the World Junior Championship last year. Do you have something in mind for your first NHL goal, or will you just roll with it?
Domi: To be honest with you, my dad absolutely hates when I celebrate. I don’t plan any of it, I just really like to win and I really like to score. I just like to have fun. Hopefully I’m lucky enough to score a goal in the NHL one day and we’ll see what happens.
SN: You certainly do appear to have a lot of fun on the ice, whether it’s interacting with your teammates, celebrations, or chirping guys. Is there a former teammate you just can’t wait to chirp in the NHL?
Domi: Hmm. Probably Bo Horvat. He’s one of my best buddies. It’s me, Bo, Josh Anderson with Columbus, and Chris Tierney in San Jose who all like to hang out a lot. One of those three guys is gonna get it for sure, but I’m sure I’ll get it right back.
SN: Describe your playing style.
Domi: I don’t even know. You probably know better than I would. I’m someone who likes to go out there and work hard every shift and have fun.
SN: You played for Dale Hunter in London, which of his NHL career marks do you think is safest from you surpassing… 323 goals or 3,563 penalty minutes?
Domi: [Laughs.] I don’t know, he had a hell of a career. He’s a guy I look up to and I have a lot respect for him.
SN: What will you miss most about spending winter in Canada?
Domi: The snow. Those first two days of snow in winter are like the best thing ever because you get to play outdoor hockey. I mean, by that third day you’re like ‘OK, when is going to go away.’ I think Toronto’s the best city in the world. It’s my home and I love it here. I’ll miss being around it.