Sunday, October 2, 2022

Who was having more fun at Monday’s Hockey Without Limits Camp? The kids, or Wild’s Matt Dumba?

Matt Dumba sported a big smile Monday morning as he sauntered onto the ice at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval in Roseville. He did not travel to Canada with the Wild this week due to a lower-body injury, and thus, he was able to attend his annual Hockey Without Limits Camp.

It might be the only positive thing to come out of him missing crucial playing time.

“This is an awesome way to spend the day,” Dumba said. “To be out here with the kids and see the smiles on their faces makes it all worth it.”

More than 170 youth hockey players from various organizations like The Hendrickson Foundation, New Directions Youth Ministry, Minnesota Unbounded, ACES and a handful of others, participated in the Hockey Without Limits Camp. The goal is to make the sport accessible to boys and girls who might not otherwise have an opportunity to get involved.

“It’s pretty special to see everyone coming together,” Dumba said. “To hold it at a facility like this is super cool, too, so we can have as many kids as we possibly can out here. Everyone is getting in on it and has the ability to get out here and enjoy this and make those memories. It’s been a lot of fun.”

In a lot of ways, Dumba looked like a kid himself out there, which tends to happen whenever he steps onto an outdoor rink. He has fond memories of skating outdoors on the neighborhood rink with his friends after school, returning home only after the sun went down.

“It definitely brings me back to those times as a kid on the outdoor rink,” Dumba said while dozens of kids skated around in the background. “I hope these kids know this is some of the best times of their lives, because it is. It’s just a good time. That’s what I did when I was little. I was on the ice every day.”

That explains why Dumba couldn’t help but get involved Monday. Though he wasn’t wearing his skates, likely by design as he recovers from his lower-body injury, he still found a way to be a part of the action.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba signs an autograph during the annual Hockey Without Limits Camp at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval in Roseville on Monday, Feb.  21, 2022. (Dane Mizutani / Pioneer Press)
Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba signs an autograph during the annual Hockey Without Limits Camp at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval in Roseville on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. (Dane Mizutani / Pioneer Press)

What started as some simple words of encouragement quickly morphed into some light passing drills. Then instinct appeared to take over as Dumba found himself smack dab in the middle of a pack of kids on the ice.

“It’d be different if I was on skates,” Dumba said with a laugh. “It’s probably a good thing I’m not.”

Those are moments the kids will never forget. Plus, the fact that Dumba looks like a lot of them is something that isn’t lost on him.

“I truly believe that representation matters,” Dumba said. “It’s no coincidence that my favorite players growing up were Jarome Iginla and Paul Kariya. Because they kind of looked like me. To see those guys doing it, and see how they carried themselves, that’s what I’m trying to pay forward.”

Nation World News Desk
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