Managing Editor Mike Doyle spoke with prospects at this year's Wild Development Camp. Throughout the summer, these question and answer sessions will be posted on Wild.com. This week is a conversation with Matt Dumba, the Wild’s first-round pick in 2012. The blueliner talks about his nomadic hockey season, making his NHL debut last year and being sponge-like at Development Camp.
Are there any changes in your mentality coming into Camp this year?
No, same as always—just try to be a sponge and develop my game and take in as much as I can. Try to make it a learning week.
Last year was kind of a crazy season for you. Start with the Wild, go to World Junior and then end up on a different Junior team (the Portland Winterhawks) because your rights were traded. What was last season like for you?
It was kind of a whirlwind, I was all over the map. But it was fun. Every step of the way I was having fun and learning something new every day. When I was up here in Minnesota and then the experience I had with the World Juniors was awesome, and then the new change of scenery there in Portland was amazing, all the people that I met there and the type of hockey we were playing. Winning is always fun and we were doing a lot of that and it was just a great season for me.
Representing your country must’ve been quite an experience. What was it like to put on the Maple Leaf?
It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve been working for that for quite a few years now (editor’s note: he was the last player cut in the two previous Canadian World Junior Teams) and finally cracking the roster this year was a dream come true. I know it didn’t go as planned and we ended up in fourth place, but it was still a great experience and a great group of guys that we went there with.
Back to Minnesota and that little taste you got last year. How did that propel you into the rest of last season and even into this summer? ‘
It was awesome. Just getting that taste and then being sent back was just motivation to get back there and be there full time. That’s what I’ve been working hard for and this summer it’s always in the back of my mind—when I’m training or on the ice—it’s about being there and making it a full time deal.
During Development Camp you guys did some media training. What was that experience like and what did you learn. It’s probably something you’re a little more comfortable than a lot of guys your age.
It was fun, they had fun with it. They showed us some clips, we saw Zach (Parise), Jason (Pominville) and Charlie (Coyle) all do interviews and segments on them—what they did well and if they needed some work (smiles). But me, I’m not a big media guy. I don’t have Twitter or Instagram, but it’s fun to check those things out and I see most of the stuff through my buddies’ anyway.
You’re not on Twitter or Instagram, is that a conscious decision to stick to hockey or are you more of a private person? What’s your decision to stay off that?
To be honest, I don’t like living on my phone. That’s one thing. My brother is actually bad for it (laughs). I get mad at him all the time, just sitting on the couch he’s always buried on his phone. It’s something that I don’t really like and I’d just rather make conversation with people than be texting them or looking at their statuses and profile pictures and whatnot.
That’s a great answer. With the media and the 24-hour news cycle, everything is ramped up and comes around quicker. Is it difficult for a young guy like yourself to stay patient, especially last year coming so close to the dream of becoming a full-time NHL player and even heading into the summer and possibilities of next season?
Yes and no. Yes in the sense that, that’s where I want to be. I want to be there and solidify that and am willing to do whatever it takes. But at the same time, just looking back at it and putting it in perspective, there’s a plan for me. Whether that takes a bit of time for me to find that patience and let it come to me, so be it. Every day I’m just going to work hard. God has a plan for me and everything happens for a reason, so if I stick with it, I’m sure my dreams will come true.