Name: Matt Dumba

Age: 25

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Current NHL Team: Minnesota Wild

Position: Defenceman

Growing up in the Dumba household, a strong work ethic was ingrained early on in Matt and his brother Kyle. His mother Treena worked, as well as his father Charle who held three jobs and biked to work for many years. The family shared one car, so getting around and taking the boys to various sporting events at different times, proved to be challenging. 

“It was tough growing up seeing all that and working through it. Knowing they were working so hard for us, just made me want to work hard whenever I was on the ice or on the field,” remarked Dumba.

Matt’s father built a rink in their backyard when the boys were little and he continued to build it every year as the boys grew up. It was on that homemade rink Matt first learned how to skate, shoot and play the game of hockey. Still to this day the first person Matt calls after a game is his Dad. 

“I had so many different coaches through the years growing up that have inspired me. But the one who made the biggest impact was for sure was my Dad. He knows my game as good as I do, or even better. We talk almost all the time after bad games, still. Just someone to vent to I guess. Even the good ones, he points out where I could have done a little bit better. He loves it; he’s my biggest fan. He gives me good balance, he hasn’t (ever) pushed me into anything, he just let me follow my love (of hockey) and supported me,” said Dumba.

With the support of his Mom and Dad, Matt was able to hone his talent from playing on his backyard rink to becoming one of the young defensive leaders in the NHL. When it comes to sharing his knowledge with the next generation of players, he was more than willing to give back to the community that gave so much to him, which is why we chose him as one of our Masterclass athletes. Here are his top three keys to success for young hockey players:

  1. Surround yourself with a supportive community:

My Dad once said it takes a village to raise the two boys he’s raised because of the help we had from cousins to my Grandma, to people giving us hand me down equipment, to the people at Crowchild Arenas (Pat Lawton), who knew we were rink rats and gave us the full ability to get on the ice. It was definitely a big group of people who contributed to where I am today, it made a difference and for that I am thankful.

2. Commit to doing something everyday towards achieving your goals:

Something I heard from a coach is to do something everyday towards your dreams and goals. We all have different dreams and goals but if you can do something everyday towards them, it can take you one step closer. For me growing up, it was working on my shot and working on certain things (drills) in the backyard with my friends. Work out now and try to set yourself apart from other people who might just be playing video games at home. Just keep adding to your skills everyday.

3. Learn from your setbacks, don’t let them define you:

Setbacks happen regardless of your age or how good you are and you just have to keep working through them. Whether it’s a slump or you might have a different opinion than the coach on how your game is going, it’s just something you have to work through. There’s no real answer or one way on how to deal with a setback. What did work for me was the support of people like my Dad who helps me to work through those things. He challenges me to be better and helps me to break down the game so I can figure out how to be better.