MONTREAL — Max Domi returned to the Montreal Canadiens when he was satisfied the risk to himself was manageable.
The 25-year-old has both Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, which could be complicating conditions if he contracted the COVID-19 virus.
So Domi and the Habs had agreed to take a wait-and-see approach when the NHL club opened training camp July 13.
Domi waited a week before joining his teammates at their practice rink Monday in Brossard, Que.
“I think to have that little buffer there to make sure that when I got here, it was super-safe — not that it wasn’t at the start — but it worked out great,” Domi told media Tuesday on a conference call.
“The training staff has been remarkable. They’re doing everything they possibly can. I’m very confident and feel very safe and happy to be here.”
Domi tallied 17 goals and 27 assists in 71 games before the NHL suspended the season March 12 because of the pandemic.
After four seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, Domi was acquired by the Habs in 2018 summer trade that sent Alex Galchenyuk to Glendale.
The five-foot-10, 192-pound son of former NHL player Tie Domi will get his first taste of playoff hockey when the Canadiens face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifying round in Toronto.
The winner of the best-of-five series starting Aug. 1 advances to the post-season’s first round.
Domi says he sought guidance from his personal physician and the Canadiens’ doctors, as well as the league and the players’ association, on how to mitigate risk upon returning to the team.
“I made sure I collected as much data as possible and communicated with all those people and got everyone on the same page,” Domi said. “I was asking lots of questions to my teammates.
“It was a matter of time until we had enough stuff that we can move forward with it. The Canadiens were outstanding. Very open-minded to making this thing work.”
The pancreas doesn’t produce insulin in a Type 1 diabetic. Insulin is a hormone that aids the body in controlling the level of blood sugar in the body.
Domi wears a sensor that provides his blood sugar levels every five minutes.
“Super-lucky to be living in this era with all the technology we have,” he said. “Five years ago, 10 years ago, it wasn’t where it is now.”
People with celiac disease, which a common complication of Type 1 diabetes, can’t tolerate gluten which is found in wheat, barley and rye.
Kidney disease, eye damage, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, nerve damage and amputation are other potential complications of Type 1 diabetes.
When the NHL season resumes in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, a dozen teams in each will be moving between the arenas and designated hotels.
Three games a day without fans in the building are scheduled for the qualifying round.
Domi acknowledges he doesn’t know if diligent management of his diseases would make the virus any less severe should he contract it.
“There’s no way of really knowing,” he said.
Teammate Ben Chiarot believes Domi is taking on an extra level of risk in returning to the team and the NHL.
“The risk he’s obviously taking is different,” the defenceman said. “It means a lot to me personally and the guys in the room that he’s doing it here with us even with that risk.
“That’s not an easy decision for him or his family to make. I’m happy that he’s here. He’s a well-liked guy in the room and an important part of our team.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2020.
The Canadian Press