GLENDALE – Coyotes rookie Max Domi is one of 30 nominees for the 2016 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The Professional Hockey Writers Association nominates one player from each NHL team each year for the annual award that is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
“It’s a huge honor,” Domi said. “It’s definitely something I take a lot a pride in. It’s pretty cool and extremely humbling.”
Domi, a Type 1 diabetic, has earned great respect and recognition for his stellar play in his rookie season, and for the way he manages his medical condition on and off the ice.
Young fans, in particular, have turned out regularly at Coyotes home and away games holding signs they’ve made to let Domi know that he has inspired them.
“If you look at what this kid has gone through his whole life to get to where he’s at, it’s pretty amazing,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “And the inspiration that he is to so many kids is pretty special. It’s remarkable to see the impact he has had on a lot of young kids.”
Domi has embraced being a champion for diabetics. He often takes time to discuss his story and journey to the NHL, and to offer advice to kids going through similar challenges that he went through. Being a role model for them is a joy, he said.
“I’m pretty comfortable (as a role model),” Domi said. “It doesn’t take long to realize how rewarding it is when you see a kid that lights up when they see you. Once you get that feeling you want to continue to get that feeling and try and do that for as many kids as possible. For me, personally, it’s been pretty special.”
Domi has notched 48 points (18 goals, 30 assists) this season with six games to go. That point total ranks third in the NHL among freshmen. On Monday, he became just the third rookie in team history to produce 30 assists in a season since the franchise relocated to Arizona in 1996.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected in a poll of all chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season. Past winners include Coyotes Development Coach Steve Sullivan (2009) and former Philadelphia Flyers captain Bobby Clarke (1972), who, like Domi, is a diabetic who reached the NHL and thrived. Domi has called Clarke his role model and he wears sweater No. 16 as a tribute to Clarke.