Sarah Howling –

Max Domi is a special player, we all know that. On the ice he is dynamic, fierce and loyal. He won’t let anyone take advantage of his teammates, even if it means missing a game with a suspension. Max Domi is quickly becoming a favorite in the Valley, and will be for a long time.

It’s only fitting therefore that Max Domi was Arizona’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy this season. And even if he was unable to beat out Jaromir Jagr, Mats Zuccarello, and Pascal Dupuis to be one of the three finalists, his qualifications for the award are no less praiseworthy.

What Is The Masterton?

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is the annual award given player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Bill Masterton was a player for the Minnesota North Stars in the 1960’s; he died tragically of head trauma from a hit during a game with the North Stars in 1968, and he remains the only player to die directly from injuries sustained during the course of play.

Notable Masterton Winners include Bobby Clarke, Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely, Pat LaFontaine, Tony Granato, Saku Koivu, Jose Theodore, Phil Kessel, and Max Pacioretty, all for various reasons and situations. The Masterton has gone to players who were good leaders, overcame personal demons, personal tragedies, illnesses or injuries.

Why Max Domi?

Domi has been playing hockey with Type I Diabetes since he was very young. When in London he was a role model for kids who wanted to play, but were scared to because of the difficulty in managing diabetes. He would often meet with teens that played hockey before and after games to talk to them about how to play with diabetes and a pump. Domi has an ambassador for young players with diabetes.

Throughout the season, Gila River Arena, and arenas around the NHL were dotted with signs from teens and younger with ‘I play because you can too’ or ‘I got my pump last week.’ Domi would meet with teens and children and they would be invited to practice to watch as well. It’s all about the message he is sending, you can play too, even with difficult physical ailments.

Why It Is Important

I was sitting with two friends for a Coyotes game and noticed a black shape on the floor of the row behind me. It was a Black Lab: a diabetic alert dog. The woman behind us was chatting with my friends. Her son was so excited about the game his blood sugar was super high. Later in the game she was pointing Domi out to her son, when the action was down at our end of the ice. “He’s like you! He has a dog too!”

Representation is important and I saw it firsthand that night. The kid lit up and started asking questions. Someone like him was playing his favorite sport, and that’s what matters. Domi may not be a Masterton Trophy finalist, but he will continue to embody everything the award stands for.