By Barb McKay

The 21-year-old Arizona Coyotes forward is a rising star in the NHL and last Monday was in Kincardine to help welcome new Bruce Power president and CEO Michael Rencheck. While in town, he took time out to chat with The Independent.

Domi said while growing up in Toronto, he enjoyed many summer holidays at his best friend’s family cottage on Bruce Beach.

“I didn’t put two and two together at first, but then I realized I have been here quite a bit actually,” he said. “I golfed at Ainsdale and I remember the neighbours all along the beach were really nice. I remember going for swims – it was a lot of fun.”

Domi said he was impressed by his visit to Bruce Power, where he spoke to employees and signed autographs.

“It was unbelievable. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the whole site, but overallI met great people and obviously they are doing great things. It was great to see and it was a lot of fun.”

Domi is no stranger to public speaking. The young hockey player, who played for the London Knights before being selected as the 12th overall by the then Phoenix Coyotes in the 2013 NHL entry draft, has been battling Type 1 diabetes since he was 12 years old. He uses an insulin pump attached to his hip to regulate his blood sugar levels, which he checks every 15 minutes during games.

Domi said he has drawn inspiration from NHL legend Bobby Clarke, who won two Stanley Cups during his 15-year career, despite having diabetes. Domi dons Clarke’s number 16 on his jersey in tribute. Having the same opportunity to give hope to young people facing similar challenges means a great deal to him.

“It’s huge. I know what it did for me – getting to meet Bobby Clarke when I was a young kid kind of fuelled me to try and make it to the next level. A couple of words from him was all it really took to push me along that way, and keeping that in my back pocket has kind of shown me that I can make a difference in a bunch of kids lives. I’m just trying to do that as much as possible.”

Domi stressed that a diagnosis, such as diabetes, should not hold anyone back from trying to reach their goals.

“It’s definitely a pretty complex disease, but it’s definitely not something that is going to stop you from achieving your dreams whether it’s the NHL or being a firefighter, it doesn’t really change that. Just keep that stuff in the back of your mind and keep plugging away and making the adjustments necessary to achieve that goal.”

With the start of the 2016-17 hockey season fast approaching, Domi has been working hard to live up to Arizona’s expectations of him as a top prospect.

“I’m working on everything. I’m still a pretty young guy but you can always try to improve your game one way or another. I’m trying to get on the ice as much as possible. Hopefully it will be a better year this year but I’ve definitely been doing a lot of work.”

Domi said he is enjoying living in the moment right now and is not looking over the fence for a spot on any other team, including Toronto, where his dad Tie Domi had a successful career as a scrappy enforcer.

“Arizona, as far as I’m concerned, I could play there for the rest of my career and I’d be completely satisfied. There are good people there and it is great living there. It’s easy to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s great in February when you wake up and there’s not a cloud in the sky and you are wearing flip flops to the rink. It’s tough to beat.”