Matt Dumba has turned his initial shock over the death of George Floyd into action.
The Minnesota Wild defenseman launched a fundraising drive Thursday to rebuild Lake Street in Minneapolis, a thoroughfare severely damaged during days of protests following Floyd's death.
"I just wanted to do something from afar," said Dumba, who has been home in Alberta since the NHL paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. "It's tough not being there. If I was there, I definitely want to be on the front lines helping out, giving back to the community."
Dumba vowed to match donations up to $100,000. The effort had raised $50,000 as of Monday afternoon, he said. The first 1,000 donors will receive a custom T-shirt with an image of Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
All contributors will be entered in a contest for a chance to win a pair of custom Air Jordan sneakers, and Dumba will chose a donor from the United States and one from Canada to spend an afternoon with him and dine with him at his favorite restaurants in Minneapolis and Calgary. More information is available at https://rebuildminnesota.com. The fundraiser ends July 1.
"I'm pumped that people are donating and helping give back to my community," Dumba said of the city where he has played for seven NHL seasons. "I think it will help us come together as one. Everyone is extending a hand and helping build each other up rather than take each other down."
Dumba is a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance that was formed June 8 and is comprised of seven current and former NHL players. He said it's important for athletes and everyone else to try to do more to help eradicate racism and injustice.
"Our brothers and sisters are living in some circumstances that aren't quite right now," he said. "The system definitely makes it harder on people and you fall into that trap and it's hard to work your way out. That's why I just want to try to extend a hand and amplify those voices that wouldn't be heard if it wasn't for someone speaking out on their platform."
Dumba's fundraiser combines his love for Minnesota and sneakers. The design on the custom triple-white Air Jordan 1 shoes was done by his younger brother, Kyle, who works at Nike and was a goalie for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology last season.
The brothers are sneaker enthusiasts who own more than 100 pairs between them, Matt Dumba said.
"I was going pretty crazy yesterday, really excited seeing all the detail and little stuff he put into them," Matt Dumba said of the painted sneakers. "I'm pretty passionate kind of being a sneakerhead. All we really do is talk shoes. We've talked about these shoes and the symbolism and just the power that [Kyle] was trying to capture and put into them."