Max Domi's philosophy is simple: If you can play, you can play, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and you deserve the same opportunities as anyone else.
The Montreal Canadiens forward and voice of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community in sports and life joined the cause on a grand stage Sunday when he marched in the 36th Pride Parade, the largest in the city. He joined Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members from You Can Play, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, throughout the 2.7-kilometer route between Metcalfe and Alexandre-DeSève Street.
"It's a huge honor," Domi said. "Anytime you can represent such an amazing franchise like Montreal, in any aspect, is fantastic. Supporting the LGBTQ+ community is something that means a lot to the organization. My role on the team is to be the voice of that. To be here is something I wouldn't pass up."
Domi took in a festive setting that featured themed floats, dancers and musicians and marching representatives of Montreal's diverse LGBTQ+ communities. Inspiration for the theme was a rainbow flag highlighted by the color violet, which according to organizers evoke dreams, gentleness and peace.
"Everything has such a spectacular meaning," Domi said. "The rainbow in general, it's such a fantastic, symbolic symbol. It means so much not just to so many people who are in the gay community, but everyone in this world.
"I'm a big believer in everyone's got the same kind of voice in this world and we're all given the opportunity to do whatever we want with our lives. You have the opportunity to speak up and support all the different communities, and you have to take full advantage of that and make the world a better place. That's why I circle back for events like this and try to make the most of it. On a day like today, it's around the clock and you have to support everyone any way you can."
Progress toward acceptance has been swift, but the road ahead is long, and the amount of work left is abundant.
"Rome wasn't built in a day," Domi said. "It's part of where the world is going and there's so much good that comes out of it. I never have enough good things to say about it. I'm really excited to be a part of it and root everyone on here. Not just our team, not just myself, sports in general is an opportunity to help this whole movement grow. To be a part of it is a huge honor."