GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Max Domi will return to action for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League on Friday night. It will be his first game for his junior team since he and his Hockey Canada teammates captured the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Monday night in Toronto.
"It’s all still a blur," Domi told arizonacoyotes.com by phone on Wednesday morning. "I’m so blessed to be part of that special team. It’s something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life."
Domi notched five goals and five assists in seven games for Canada and was voted the tournament’s best forward. Asked if that prestigious honor was the icing on the cake, Domi said no.
"The icing on the cake for me was winning the gold medal," he said. "That’s all we all really cared about."
Domi has remained in Toronto the past few days and is scheduled – along with a few Team Canada teammates with ties to Ontario – to drop the puck at the Toronto Maple Leafs game on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre, the site of Canada’s 5-4 win over Russia in the gold-medal game. That rink is like a second home for Domi, a Toronto native, whose father Tie played for the Leafs there for years.
"Winning the gold here is a dream come true for me," Domi said. "Every kid in Canada wants to win the World Junior and I was able to be part of a team that did that. Being able to do it in my own backyard makes it even more special."
The Coyotes selected Domi with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He has attended two training camps since then and is hoping to land a roster spot at the end of his third next September.
"This has been a good year for him to continue to grow his game," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "You get on a stage like that (at the World Junior) and not just play in those situations but excel in those situations, he's got a great future ahead of him."
Coyotes captain Shane Doan said he admires how Domi thrived under the pressure.
"It's great for him and I’m happy for him, and to see him play as well as he did was pretty special," Doan said.
When Domi retruns to London he will look to build on yet another impressive season. In 27 games this year, Domi, the team captain, already has notched 17 goals and 41 assists. His 58 points rank eighth in the OHL.
As the season progresses, Domi said he would be keeping an eye on the Coyotes from afar.
"I would love to be there now helping the team win," Domi said. "But I’m still young and I’m making the most out of this season, and I was very lucky to get to play in this tournament. A lot of players don’t get to do that so I think it’s all worked out for the best. I will bring this experience with me wherever I go. Hopefully, next season, I’ll be there in Arizona."