WHL Weekly: Rebel Dumba back in ’Dub, aims to learn
With NHL lockout, his newly-minted Minnesota Wild contract will have to wait
But, like many, the Red Deer Rebels defenceman is forced to make the best out of the NHL lockout.
“Everyone is disappointed,” said the Calgarian who was selected seventh overall by general manager Chuck Fletcher and the Wild in June. “It affects so many different people from all the players to everyone working at the buildings. No one is really happy about it. But that’s the way it is. I sure can’t change anything.
“I just have to roll with it.”
Having turned 18 on July 25, Dumba was not eligible to report to the club’s American Hockey League camp in Houston with the Aeros. But, at this time of the year, he likely would have received some exhibition playing time and experienced the daily lifestyle of an NHL player. Instead, he is living the ’Dub lifestyle, riding buses to places like Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and, on Monday, Prince Albert.
So he’s looking on the bright side and is making the best of it.
“It’s just an opportunity for me to learn and develop myself and grow further,” said the hard-hitting six-foot, 182-pound defenceman. “Just learn as much as I can from the coaching staff. Being in the WHL now, I have to see it as a good thing. It gives me more time to develop and grow.
“I’m just going to use it in the best way possible.”
His 2012-13 WHL season got off to an abbreviated start, however.
Dumba was suspended in Red Deer’s season and home opener on Sept. 21 against the Calgary Hitmen for a hit on defenceman Joey Kornelsen at the Rebels’ blueline — one of his trademark open-ice bombs that earned him an entry-level contract this summer after he’d returned from Minnesota’s rookie camp.
The WHL discipline team cracked down and gave him a two game suspension for checking to the head.
Dumba explained himself, sat down with Rebels general manager Brent Sutter, and the lesson was learned.
“It was in the spur of the moment,” Dumba said. “I thought it was clean at first, but then when I broke it down with the guidelines and with Mr. Sutter, it was made clear to me what I did wrong.
“And now I know and it was a learning experience for me.”
And, as timing would have it, his return was Saturday against the Hitmen at the Scotiabank Saddledome. In the 3-2 overtime win — the Rebels’ first of the season — the crowd gave Dumba a hard time when he touched the puck, which was something he half expected.
“I didn’t hear anything, but I heard about it after,” he said. “It’s just the local support in Calgary. They are standing up for their team. It was bound to happen.”
CHEEK CHECKS IN
It didn’t take long for former Hitmen Trevor Cheek to find his groove.
The overage forward, who was traded to the Vancouver Giants in an effort to reduce Calgary’s roster to three 20 year olds, scored his first goal in his second performance with his new club, Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Everett Silvertips.
The Vancouver, Wa., native who played his youth hockey in Phoenix, also scored the game winner in Vancouver’s 3-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday.
And the timing couldn’t have been better.
The Giants (1-3-0-0) were off to their worst start in franchise history and Sunday was their first victory of the season. Cheek’s goal sealed the deal — and won the approval of head coach Don Hay.
“He’s a real composed young man and I think that helps the rest of the guys,” Hay told the Vancouver Province.
A couple of Calgarians were recognized by the WHL this week. Hunter Shinkaruk, the captain of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was dubbed the player of the week collecting six points (one goal, five assists) over the weekend as the Tigers beat the Red Deer Rebels 5-4 and the Regina Pats 5-1.
Shinkaruk is one of the WHL’s seven ‘A’ skaters listed in the NHL’s central scouting preliminary rankings. He’ll be one to watch this season and a sure bet to go quickly at the 2013 NHL entry draft.
Cam Lanigan of the Portland Winterhawks is the WHL’s nominee for the CHL goalie of the week. The overage netminder stopped 31 shots and led his club to a 1-0 shoot-out victory over the Kelowna Rockets.
Colin Fraser and Brandon Sutter are spending their lock-out days practising with the Red Deer Rebels. Fraser, who skates with the Los Angeles Kings, and Sutter, a forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins, both played their junior careers in Red Deer . . . Four players are pacing the WHL’s scoring race with nine points including 18-year-old defenceman Ryan Pulock, the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings who is expected to go fairly high in the 2013 NHL entry draft . . . Bad timing for the three WHL officials — referees Trevor Hanson and Trent Knorr and linesman Kiel Murchison — who graduated to the NHL this season . . . The WHL announced Bob Green, the general manager and architect of the Edmonton Oil Kings, had his contract extended Monday. No surprise there. Green, who was dubbed the 2012 WHL executive of the year, built a club that skated to the 2012 Memorial Cup as the WHL champions.
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