CBC.ca – Nicole Williams
NHL player Max Domi and Olympic gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme visited a P.E.I. First Nation reserve Wednesday to talk all things hockey.
Domi and Bonhomme are on the Island because of the Summerside Boys and Girls Club celebrity gala and were invited to speak to youth in Lennox Island, P.E.I.
In her speech, Bonhomme focused on determination, commitment and what it takes to become a professional athlete.
“Every day after supper, my dad gave me a choice. I could either wash the dishes or go in the backyard and shoot 100 pucks every day,” Bonhomme said.
‘Everyone is watching you’
Domi addressed the challenges that come with being an NHL’er and the adversities he had to overcome as a diabetic.
“You’re playing for a gold medal on a stage where everyone is watching you and you’re under the microscope and you’re still having to worry about your blood sugar,” he said.
The Arizona Coyotes’ forward was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 12 and says it’s something he’s had to learn to deal with throughout his hockey career.
“Definitely a lot of obstacles,” he said. “I had to learn and educate myself and a lot of trial and error but overall it’s something that’s been very manageable. I haven’t let it get in my way one bit and I’m very proud to say that.”
A message kids need to hear
There is a high rate of diabetes in the Lennox Island community, and so Domi’s message is one the event organizers wanted kids to hear.
“[Domi] doesn’t let it [his diabetes] control his life and I think the messaging that came with that around, you know, once you set your mind to something you can do anything was really important to the kids,” said Jamie Thomas, co-ordinator of culture and tourism for the Lennox Island First Nation.
For 11-year-old Jakob MacEwen, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes four years ago, it was a chance to meet his idol.
“I’ve always looked up to him and as soon as I got diagnosed I followed his story and he’s just a great role model,” he said.
MacEwan also plays hockey and hopes to one day follow in Domi’s footsteps by playing in the NHL.