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Dumba battled through interviews, testing

by Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11.75, 183-pound defenseman was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. He also had a tournament-high 12 points -- all assists -- to help Canada Pacific win the bronze medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This summer, he played for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and also took part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Dumba has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

When I first arrived in Toronto for the Scouting Combine, I was real nervous. Everything that I heard from everyone, I was pretty scared about the interviews. I didn't know what they were going to ask. But after the first couple I got some confidence, and I thought they really went well. I'm a pretty good speaker, so they just went smooth for me.

I had 19 interviews altogether, but I remember starting the first and being real nervous. As I went on, though, it got better and better and I got more relaxed and more confident as I went through.

I didn't get any strange questions -- nothing at all. Everyone else said they had something, but not me.

The fitness testing was a totally different experience. I looked in the testing room and I'd never seen something like that before. I had kind of heard stories and everything, but it was really cool, how it's all set up, how everyone is watching, critiquing you -- kind of nervous and scary at the same time. Once you get into the testing, and I started doing my thing, it was all good.

It's intimidating, for sure, but as you get comfortable in your own skin and taking off your shirt and stuff, it's good. I knew I was prepared for it all and I knew I was going to fare well on all the tests. I was happy with that.

I thought I did good on the vertical leap and especially the long jump -- I almost jumped off the mat there. And the pushups, I did really well on that.

The bikes tests were really tough. We bike a little in Red Deer at my gym in the summer, but we never did that. It's not a part of that. I'm not sure how they correlate to hockey, but I know what scouts are looking for -- how you battle and compete. I just wanted to go on there and do my best in that and give everything I have.

The Wingate test was first and it's tough. You've got to definitely focus in for those full 35 seconds. And it really is 35 -- you start and they say faster, faster and then you go and you've got to hit that for 30 seconds. I was good. I don't think I dropped off too much. I really pushed through. Wingate was one of my stronger ones.

The VO2 was next and I had done that at my gym before, but nothing like this. That was tough. I really put everything into it. At one point I think I blacked out. I didn't even know what I was doing -- I was just going. I don't know what happened, just the animal inside took over. It was good, though.

I'm done now, and it was a really good week. I'm happy I did this.
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