Being just an hour from Red Deer, I’ve had the luxury over the last year-and-a-half to not only watch the on-ice progression of Rebels defenseman Mathew Dumba, but to talk to him and observe him grow as a young man.
That’s why his cut from Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp hit me the hardest.
When the 17-year-old turned the corner as the second cut announced Tuesday morning, my heart sank. The red-eyed Dumba, fighting back tears, held his composure when talking to the media at 6:20 in the morning, shortly after being told to pack his things and return to his junior club.
Much like 41 other camp hopefuls, there was nothing more that Dumba wanted for Christmas than the chance to represent Canada at the World Junior Championship. In his heart of hearts, Dumba believed he could do just that. It wouldn’t be too hard to convince me of the same.
Hopefully Dumba can draw on some inspiration from former teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Last year, he was among the players cut from camp. Nugent-Hopkins used it as motivation and was eventually the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and currently resides among the National Hockey League leaders in points as an 18-year-old.
He may spend the coming weeks thinking about what might have been, but hopefully Dumba instead turns his attention to what will be next year.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!