This story appears in the October issue of Wild Magazine.
It's no secret that most athletes have certain habits they stick to on game days. For some players, these routines even border on obsession. Defenseman Matt Dumba is decidedly not one of those people.
"I try to keep it so there's not any absolute have-tos," said Dumba. "Every game's different, every day is different. You never know the things that life's gonna throw at you, and it's just rolling with the punches and then trying to keep those little things [in order] to make sure you're staying on track and trying to stay focused for a game."
That attitude may be the quirkiest part about Dumba's game day schedule, as it pervades through his entire routine.
Must do: "One thing I always do is I visualize before the game, that's kind of my one thing that I make sure I do. And then when I'm getting dressed, I always, always tie my right skate first. I couldn't even tie my left skate first if I tried. It's one of those things that just feels so weird, I don't even put it on first. I think maybe one of my favorite players growing up was tying their left skate first or doing everything on their left side first, and I -- just being a righty, being right-handed -- wanted to make it my own and I just started doing that. A little thing when I first started playing hockey."
Must eat: "Penne alla vodka, double chicken, gluten-free, light sauce. Dinner portion."
Must listen to: "I listen to so much music, I try to just shuffle my playlist and then roll with what's going on that day or what I'm feeling. It's kind of always changing."
Though his music selections change, his tattoos are permanent: a source of pride for Dumba, who thinks his ink may just be one of the most unique things about himself off the ice.
"I love my tattoos," he said. "I looked in the mirror the other day, and I kinda was shaking my head and smiling at the same time, I was like 'whoa, you're tatted up, bro!' I didn't realize it."