The number of professional athletes with Type 1 diabetes is small and on Thursday, Max Domi finally got to have a chat with the one that inspired him the most.
The Montreal Canadiens forward sat down with Philadelphia Flyers legend Bobby Clarke for a pregame meeting that was televised on RDS in Canada.
"Not many people understand it, but if you have it, you get it, you understand what you go through, and he lived it and he understands it," Domi said.
He added that knowing that Clarke experienced the same adversity he did while accomplishing so much was one of the many reasons why Domi looked up to him. He wore No. 16 during his first three NHL seasons with the Arizona Coyotes to match Clarke's number. Domi wears No. 13 with the Canadiens since No. 16 has been retired.
Clarke replied that he was honored to have an NHL player speak about him with such high regard.
"He made the NHL because he can play hockey," Clarke said of Domi during the interview. "And it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that he's a diabetic. He's an NHL player with diabetes and that's pretty special."
After the game in Philadelphia, Domi was still pumped about the meeting. He also gave Clarke an autographed copy of his book, "No Days Off: My Life with Type 1 Diabetes and Journey to the NHL." With the autograph, Domi wrote:
"To Mr. Clarke,
Thank you for everything! You changed my life! Your good friend, Max Domi"
"That was one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life to be honest," Domi told NHL.com. "He's my idol. I've grown up looking up to him. Last time I saw him I was 12 years old, so that was pretty special."
NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman contributed to this story.