This story appears in the first-round playoff edition of Wild Magazine.
Welcome to Off the Ice, where we sit down with Wild players to learn more about their lives away from the rink. This month, we chat with goaltender Devan Dubnyk about the playoffs, his family, his favorite road cities and what he loves most about living in Minnesota.
Wild.com: After five years in Edmonton and stints in Nashville and Arizona, you've settled in Minnesota. What do you like about living here?
Devan Dubnyk: It feels a lot like being in Canada, where I grew up, just the way the people are. Everybody is very nice and it's very outdoorsy. Everybody loves sports and it's just the same kind of feel as it was growing up. That instantly makes you feel at home and the longer we stay here, the more beautiful it seems. You get the chance to see the spring and the fall and some of the summer, and it's just a beautiful place.
W: What is it like to be raising a young family here, and what are some of you and your wife's favorite things to do with your sons (Nate, 3, and Parker, 1)?
DD: That's another thing, too: The schools here are great, the programs and tons of sports. There's hockey for them and there's lots of ice for them. My oldest is now interested in getting better at skating, so there's all these opportunities for them. There's just so much to do, parks and lakes and everything around. It's just such a great place to raise a family and we've been lucky that way to land here.
W: Obviously during the offseason, you have a lot more time to relax. But during the season, especially in the midst of the postseason, what do you do away from the rink to de-stress?
DD: You just take the day and spend it with the kids, or if I get the chance, I go to breakfast with my wife in the morning while [our son] Nate's at school. You just forget about hockey. The kids are the best thing for that, good or bad. The days between, they don't care if you've won 10 in a row or if you can't win a game to save your life. They just want to play and they want their dad, and that's the best way to get away from the game. All you have to do is hang out with them to do it.
W: In the NHL, you're on the road for a significant portion of the year. How do you balance your demanding schedule with family time?
DD: It's tough; the long [road trips] are tough. They're more tough on my wife, obviously. We always try to plan to have some family come in on the nine- and 10-day road trips. It's tough for me, too. You feel like you come home and the kids have changed so much, and all you can do is see them on Facetime each day and it sucks. But it's a lot harder for my wife to try to deal with them on her own. It's part of the job. It's not a lot of fun, but we've got some long stretches at home and we get the summer where we're at home every day. So it's a trade-off.
W: Apart from anything hockey related, what's your favorite NHL road city?
DD: I'd probably say Vancouver's up there, just for being a beautiful city. It's in Canada, it's close to home, so that's always a fun part. Going down to Florida is always enjoyable, especially if you can do it in the middle of the winter. It's a breath of fresh air, and that's the same with Anaheim and Los Angeles, but we seem to get Anaheim and L.A. back-to-back all the time, so we don't get to enjoy it as much. But I would say Vancouver, Florida or Arizona. Any of those sunny places are great.
W: Tell me about your charity work and some of the causes you support.
DD: I haven't done any one thing specifically since I've been here. I did a little bit with the Garth Brooks foundation that a bunch of guys work with. I've done a bit with Firefighters for Healing. I take advantage of any opportunity that allows us to leverage our position and be able to raise money, especially in a place like this that loves hockey so much. There's so many opportunities to help out, whether it's signing jerseys or appearing at events. It's a great opportunity to do that when people care as much as they do.