He’s been caught in a storm of activity, and while there’s relief in sight Mathew Dumba has yet to experience his most thrilling and intense hockey experience.
That will take place Friday in Pittsburgh, where the Red Deer Rebels defenceman will be called to the podium as a first-round selection in the NHL entry draft.
Dumba has been big-time busy since the Rebels’ season ended in March, captaining the Canadian national team to a bronze-medal triumph in the world under-18 championship in the Czech Republic in April and attending the NHL draft combine in Toronto the first week of June, all the while working on completing his high school education.
“It’s been quite a whirlwind, but I’ve just tried to enjoy it all . . . take it all in for what it is and have fun with it,” he said Monday from his Calgary home.
The thrill ride continued last week when Dumba was named to the Canadian roster for the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge in August, an event that this year replaces Canada’s national junior team summer development camp.
The four-game series will be played Aug. 9-10 in Yaroslavl, Russia, and Aug. 13-14 in Halifax.
Dumba’s appointment to the team made it crystal clear that he’s very much on the Hockey Canada radar for the next world junior championship, not that it was ever in doubt considering his talent and the fact he attended the junior nats selection camp last December.
“It was an amazing experience being at the world junior camp last year, and now again to just kind of go back and have the opportunity to be on that team this summer and play the Russians . . . that will be awesome,” he said.
“These games will serve as a great opportunity for the national junior coaches to evalutate the players and I hope to be at my best there and solidify my spot on the team for the (2013) world juniors.”
Dumba, a good bet to be a top-10 pick in Friday’s draft, worked out for all 30 of his prospective future employers at the recent draft combine which featured 88 of the top-ranked North American players. The prospective pros were put through a series of physical tests and were interviewed by any number of NHL teams.
“It was interesting, I’ve never been through anything like that,” said Dumba.
“There were just so many interviews and the testing was weird with about 200 people watching you. All eyes are on you and you’re doing these tests to the best of your abilities. it was a pretty crazy experience.”
Dumba talked to the vast majority of NHL teams and came away without even a hint of who might be drafting him Friday.
“Some teams showed a lot of interest, but none of the teams that are kind of in the range of where I may be drafted really said anything,” he noted. “I think for the most part you just never know until draft day.”
Dumba will attend the draft with his family and likely won’t have to wait long to be called to the podium.
“I’m going to hear my name and it’s going to be amazing regardless of when that is,” said the six-foot, 175-pound rearguard. “There are advantages to every team in the NHL. I’ve wanted to be there since I was little so I’m going to be happy no matter which team drafts me. It’s going to be a pretty amazing feeling when I get to walk up there.”
Dumba will celebrate his 18th birthday in July, which normally would be the homestretch of his off-season.
“But I haven’t really had an off-season yet,” he said. “If anything I’ve just been trying to give my body as much rest as possible. I’m just waiting for this whole draft thing to be over and then I can jump into it and train for a month before going to Russia. It will be a big month for me.”