Max Domi needs little introduction in the hockey world.
A first-round pick in the 2013 draft, he's long been thought of as one of the most talented young players in the game. He also carries a surname that turns heads in the hockey world, as his father Tie was one of the most memorable players of his era, racking up 104 goals and 3,515 penalty minutes (third most in NHL history) over a 16-year career from 1990-2006).
But Max has done quite a bit to make a name for himself, as the skilled forward has 83 goals and 257 points in 392 games in five-plus seasons with the CBJ, Montreal and Arizona, including a 72-point season two years ago with the Canadiens. The offseason trade acquisition of the Blue Jackets has two goals and six points -- and one fight -- thus far for the Blue Jackets.
Video: CAR@CBJ: Domi unleashes a heavy one-timer
But off the ice, Domi is just as interesting a person as he is on it. BlueJackets.com caught up with Domi to talk about his dad, his dog and much more in the season debut of 5 Questions.
1. BlueJackets.com: People love dogs, so that's a great place to start. You have a diabetic-alert dog named Orion that you brought with you to Columbus. How is he doing so far?
Domi: "He's doing great. He's living his best life, that's for sure. He loves snow. It's been snowing a lot in Columbus and I have a nice backyard for the first time in a couple of years. He was all cooped up in a little apartment in Montreal. He wasn't a big fan of that. I had a great backyard in Arizona. It's not the same weather, but he doesn't care about the weather, he just wants the space to run around in and have some fun, so he's loving it."
How nice is it to have him wherever you go, especially this year with not being able to really do a whole lot because of the pandemic? It has to be nice to have a companion here.
"It's the best. Obviously my family is back home. My girlfriend is back home, too. With the whole COVID thing, it's tough to travel and figure all that stuff out. I'm Han Solo at home right now, so it's nice to have him there because when he's there it's just like another person is there. You have conversations with him, I guess, or you play with him, whatever it may be. You know how it is to have a dog. He's my best buddy. It's great to have. I haven't really been able to do much -- we're going from our house to the rink back home pretty much every single day and that's the extent of your day -- so it's nice to come home to him."
2. You're friends with Tom Brady, so just how cool was it to watch the Super Bowl? What he's been able to accomplish is incredible, so it has to be fun to be able to watch it.
"Obviously Tom is someone that I've looked up to basically my whole life as a sports fan. Not only what he does on the field but off the field as well, how he takes care of himself, how he is with his family, how he handles himself with media. You name it, he's such a pro. He's the greatest athlete of all time. I don't care what anyone says. I don't think there's anyone even close now. Getting to know him a little bit personally has been pretty special for me because I was a fan of his before I even knew him. Now it's a whole different perspective of getting to have some dialogue one-on-one with him and understanding what he actually does and how he has his approach on being Tom Brady and the stuff that goes on in his mind. What he does physically and mentally to prepare, it's on another level. I've met a lot of pretty successful, passionate, hard-working people, but no one ever like Tom. It's no mistake he's won seven Super Bowls and has been in 10, that's for sure."
3. I did want to ask about your dad. I'm sure you've been asked 100 times about him, but the angle I wanted to ask about is I'd have to imagine having a dad who was a pro athlete helps so much because you learn what it's like from a young age and what it takes to get to that level. How much did it help you get to where you were just being around the game when you were younger?
"That's a great point that you alluded to at the end there is just being around it is as much or even more valuable than having a father that did it. You know how it is. My dad is my dad. Yeah, he played 16 years in the league doing the hardest job in sports, but he's still your dad. I'm not necessarily proud to say it, but sometimes when he says stuff, it goes in one ear and out the other. Most times you're listening to him, but then you get into little battles, little arguments about it because he's your dad, right? We're both super competitive about it. He knows I listen to him, sometimes I'll pretend like I don't, but he knows I listen to him, which makes it even worse because he keeps going after it the same over and over again. But he's really outsmarted me at times. When he knows I'm not going to listen to him or pretend I'm not going to listen to him, he'll get one of his buddies that he knows I'll listen to and just say, 'Hey, you have to tell him this.' Just outsmarted me. Classic Tie. He's good at what he does, and he's a great dad first and foremost, but as a professional and as a teammate, he's taught me everything I know, that's for sure. I'm super lucky to have not only him but my mom (Leanne), too. I've had two great parents that I've learned from my entire life and continue to learn from to this day. I talk to them both every single day, and I have a close relationship to both of them, and I'm super thankful for that."
I grew up watching him as a kid -- I still remember the game where the fan fell into the penalty box with him in Philadelphia. Is it cool that people remember him and know that he had such an impact in the game?
"Yeah, he's a legend. He's one of the most famous hockey players of all time for sure. He still walks around Toronto or anywhere in Canada, he can't go anywhere without getting recognized. He's a big deal, and he knows that (laughs), but I'm proud to call him my dad. I know he's proud of me as his son, and I've tried my best to do my job and live up to the name on the back of my jersey as well to pay respect to everything he's done throughout his career and what he stands for. He was a great teammate, obviously a heck of a hockey player. One of the toughest if not the toughest hockey players in the history of the game. He has the most fights in the history of the game, so it's tough to argue that. That job in general, what he did is pretty remarkable to do it for that long, but he could play, too. You watch some of his goals and some of the plays he could make, it's pretty impressive. The other thing I joke about with him all the time, when he'll try to bring up a point about the power play, I'll say, 'You were never on the power play?' He said, 'Well, I had the best seat in the house for 20 years.' That's for sure.
"Just the way he sees a game, he's still a huge fan of it. He watches it every single night. He doesn't miss anything. There hasn't been a game of mine that he's missed. He would drive out to Owen Sound or Sault Ste. Marie, he was there in juniors to watch and that's pretty cool because that was a big commitment, terrible weather conditions, but he just loves the game and he loves watching his son play. I'm very thankful for that, and our relationship is at another level. He's the guy I go to for everything."
4. Being a Type 1 diabetic and being in sports, I don't know how many Blue Jackets fans necessarily know that, but how important is it for you to be a light for people to show that it's something you can live with and you can reach a high level? I think Bobby Clarke was someone who did that for you, but now I think you're doing that for a lot of people.
"It's starting to get repetitive and I hate talking about myself, but I'm not doing it to talk about myself. It's to help kids out. Bobby Clarke basically helped me get to where I am today because obviously when you're faced with some sort of adversity, especially to that extent when your whole life just gets thrown upside down, when you know someone else has done it prior to you, it makes it much easier because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As a competitive guy, I think, 'If he can do it, I can do the same thing.' The fact that he was able to do what he did back then without the technology we have nowadays speaks volumes to the type of person he was. I mean, it's unbelievable. It really is.
"I look at myself in the mirror every single day and say if I can do a small percentage or a sliver of what Mr. Clarke did for me, then I'm doing something good in this world that is far more important than hockey. That's the way I look at it is you have some sort of dreams or goals in life, despite having Type 1, you can reach that and achieve all those amazing dreams and let them know, that's what it's all about. You can use any type of negative that comes into your life, you can turn it into a positive. That's how life goes. I hope by sharing my story and speaking out about it, I can give some sort of fuel and any type of advice or help, I'm there in voice, just to help guide someone into achieving their dreams despite having Type 1."
You wrote a book about your experiences with Type 1, hoping to encourage others to follow your path. What was the response to that like?
"Back home in Canada it was huge. The timing of it was great. I was playing in one of the biggest markets in hockey with such passionate fans in Montreal. I was super thankful for all the support I got from them. Obviously there are great fans in Toronto, too, with my dad and just growing up in Toronto and playing for Hockey Canada and whatnot, but across Canada there's so many amazing fans, hockey fans and fans of my dad or my family or whatever it might be. They've all jumped on board, and I'm super appreciate of that. Now being back in the States, hopefully we can establish more of a market for that as well and let people know if you need someone to talk to or something to look forward to, look no further, there's a guy playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets that has the same thing that you're dealing with. He dreamed of playing in the NHL from the time he was born, he was diagnosed at 12 years old and he is still living his best life and playing in the greatest league in the world."
5. Lastly I wanted to ask about one of your answers to our team's player questionnaire. You said if you weren't playing hockey, you'd be in a band. So I have to ask, do you play any instruments or is that just a pipe dream?
"I love music, and that was the first thing that came to my mind (laughs). No, I think my favorite concert of all time I ever went to was an AC/DC concert. I don't know how old I was, really young, but I was leaning against the stage and the speaker was right in my face and I remember the band is right there and Angus (Young) is buzzing around on his guitar and I'm like, 'That guy is cool. I want to be like him,' kind of thing. I think a lot of athletes would love to be whether it's an actor or some type of performer, and vice versa. Those guys or girls want to be athletes, and it just interchanges like that, for whatever reason. I have a lot of respect for everyone in the music industry and the grind they go through. As someone who loves music and loves to perform, I think that would be really cool to do."
Have you ever tried an instrument or have you been too busy with hockey?
"I played guitar when I was younger. I picked up piano, keyboard a little bit. I have a guitar at home. Now I have lots of time, especially with COVID, so maybe I'll dive into it a little bit here."