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Dumba excited to be heading to Minnesota

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.

PITTSBURGH -- It's been a pretty amazing time in Pittsburgh.

I was up late last night but once I went to bed, I got a real good sleep. We had breakfast with the families, that was fun. That was the first time we saw Gary Bettman. He talked to us for a brief moment, then we had orientation, just listening through that. I had lunch with my family and friends, that was good. Then it was just waiting the next four hours for it to all happen.

Walking the red carpet into the arena, that was awesome. Lots of fun. It was pretty cool to see all the fans on both sides going crazy. People asking for autographs everywhere. It was cool to see.

I tried to chill out and relax when things started, but at the same time anxiety is running through your body about when you're going to be picked where. At the end of the day I was just waiting for my name to be called.

When Minnesota said "Red Deer," that's all I heard. I knew it was me. That was cool. My family was really excited. They were saying just how proud of me they were. Mom was crying, she didn't say anything. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was talking to me and said congratulations. He was excited for me as well.

Going down the stairs, the cameraman told me to slow down because I was going too fast. I was racing to get up to the stage. It was pretty cool.

When I shook hands with the Commissioner, he said "Welcome to the NHL," and I squeezed his hand pretty tight. Sorry, but I was pretty excited.

Pulling on that Wild jersey, it was amazing. You stand on the little "X" and put the jersey on. It was so cool. Just everything, this whole experience has been awesome.

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