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Dumba had fun with testing, skills competition

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.

KELOWNA, B.C. -- Greetings from the Top Prospects Game.

Today was a pretty interesting day. It started in the morning with the Next Testing. That was a different experience. I hadn't done that testing before, on or off the ice. It was neat to see. Some of the other guys, they had done it before so I let those guys go ahead of me and see how it's done and I just did my best, worked hard.

On the ice, I thought some of it was kind of awkward. You're used to getting that freedom to skate where you want in practice. It was so structured, but it was fun. I liked the pivoting and the stops, I was pretty good at them. It was a neat experience.

Off the ice, we did jump tests, our vertical leap and grip strength. Those were different. I've never done the grip strength before. It was fun to see."

I know a lot of NHL scouts were watching, and I hope they saw positive things. I think I went out there and gave it my all. It's pretty neat knowing there's so many guys out there watching and critiquing all the time. You've got to be on your game at all times. It was a really good experience.

The skills contest was a lot of fun. Sitting in the room, you don't really know all the guys, but you realize they're all really great guys. Everyone is so friendly. It's easy to make talk, especially with the guys from your own league, it's easy to talk like that. And I played on the World Under-18 team with a lot of the guys, so we're good buddies like that. You're kind of nervous and stuff, but all day today, everyone said to just make sure you're having fun out there and that's what I did.

I did the hardest shot contest. It was different. I've never done anything like that. I never really knew how hard my shot was. Going in I knew I had a decent shot. I was looking forward to seeing where I fit in amongst the hardest shooters. I guess I fell in right in the middle of the pack. It was good.

I shot 90.6 and 91.2 mph. I was happy to see it. I think, if anything, guys were saying I've got to shoot the puck lower to register a faster time.

I think the fastest skater contest really got me going. It's pretty dangerous, guys are going so fast. Going into those turns, you don't want to see anyone fall. They're doing that at such a high speed, it's pretty amazing to see the guys wheel like that.

The 3-on-3 contest that ended the night, that was different. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was fun. It's tough with such great caliber of guys, they know how to use the ice so efficiently. No one's playing defense, it was just go-go-go. But it was lots of fun.

Overall it was a fun night, but I'm looking forward more to tomorrow night and the real game. My game and competitive edge really shows in games rather than skills competition and friendly 3-on-3. I made a hit in the 3-on-3 and didn't think really anyone liked that. I toned it down after that and just worked on skating hard and making sure we were trying to score a goal. It wasn't even that bad, just finishing a light check on the boards. I don't know what the fans were expecting. Tomorrow night everyone will be going and it'll be really competitive.
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